Felony Settlement Conferences
For appropriate cases (eligibility factors below), the settlement conference process can be effective and cathartic for its participants. The process invites the individuals impacted by the situation to speak and provides the opportunity for all persons involved to listen to each other. A felony settlement conference is an informal, confidential process managed by a judge who is not the judge hearing the case. The settlement judge helps parties evaluate their case and communicate about options for resolution.
For more detailed information, please refer to the Felony Settlement Conference Policies and Procedures.
Cases suitable for felony settlement conferences are those in which the defendant admits to wrongdoing and parties have attempted negotiation, but the defendant and/or victim are struggling to reach resolution and would benefit from some assistance from the settlement conference judge. Both sides must have exchanged offers already and both sides must consent to participating. Because parties, victims, and others are able to talk with one another in confidence (unless excluded from confidentiality under the Felony Settlement Conference Policies and Procedures), settlement conferences can be beneficial for cases in which individuals other than the defendant and the state are involved.
Requesting a Settlement Conference
Complete the Settlement Conference Request form and file it with the Superior Court in the county where your case is being heard. The Clerk will contact you regarding a date for the conference. You may request a settlement conference at any time in the life of a case. Please indicate if you would like a half-day or full-day settlement conference.
Preparing for the Settlement Conference
Send a settlement conference memorandum of the issues in the case and options you have considered for resolving these issues to the settlement conference judge at least five (5) days in advance of the conference.
Prepare your client or victim and any additional attendees for a process that may require that they hear challenging things and share their perspective. Settlement conferences may require active participation from the attendees.