The State’s Attorney’s Office participates in a mediation program for matters that have been screened by the State’s Attorney or his staff attorneys and the belief is that the matter can possibly be resolved between the complaining party and the defendant without going to court.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a process where people in dispute can talk things out. The parties come together, with the help of an impartial mediator, to discuss their dispute with the goal of identifying and clarifying the issues they are having and to discuss options to resolve those issues. Very often and agreement that is satisfactory to both parties is reached.
Mediation is voluntary and confidential. The parties must agree to the process before mediation may be scheduled. A party does not give up his or her legal rights by participating in mediation. If an agreement is not reached the case may still move to a court proceeding if the prosecutor deems the matter appropriate for court action.
Who are the Mediators?
Mediators are individuals that have been trained in mediation and conflict resolution. They are an impartial party that conducts the mediation session with the goal of reaching a resolution that is fair and agreeable to both parties.
What happens in a Mediation Session?
The mediator first explains the process and answers any questions the participants may have about the process. Each participant will then be allowed time to explain why they came to mediation and the issues involving the matter at hand. The mediator then helps the participants openly discuss the dispute, assists in identifying the issues the parties are experiencing and then exploring the available options that can be reached to resolve the dispute.
Where will Mediation take place and what does it cost?
Mediation is scheduled at a time and location convenient for both parties. Mediation sessions typically take place at the State’s Attorney’s Office in Centreville, Maryland. Mediation sessions typically last about two hours. If additional time is needed to resolve the matter an additional mediation session may be scheduled. Mediation is offered at no cost to the participants.
Who can attend Mediation?
The complaining party and the defendant are typically the only participants of a mediation session; however, if both participants agree that other participants being present may help resolve the conflict then they may be permitted to attend.
Starting Mediation in a Criminal Case
The Mediation Coordinator may select cases they feel appropriate for mediation. The complaining party may also make a request to the State’s Attorney’s Office for a matter to be scheduled for mediation. Criminal cases may only proceed to mediation with the approval of the State’s Attorney or his designee.
Once a criminal case has been approved by the State’s Attorney or his designee for the mediation process, the Mediation Coordinator will contact the complaining party and the defendant in an attempt to arrange a mediation session.
If the parties reach an agreement in mediation the State’s Attorney may either agree not to prosecute the criminal case or to place the case on the stet docket until the terms of the agreement have been met.