MADD Tennessee is one of 13 states nationwide to participate in our Court Monitoring Program in which staff and volunteers go into local courtrooms to ensure drunk and drugged driving cases are prosecuted and adjudicated as the serious crimes they are. Studies show that consistently placing an observer in the courtroom has a positive effect on case disposition. Standardized reporting used by court monitors contributes to an increase in information that can result in higher conviction rates.
The latest results of data gathered from Court Monitoring in Tennessee comparing Quarter 2 of 2017 with Quarter 2 of 2018 confirms that this would appear to hold true for Tennessee courtrooms as well. The findings show that in the areas targeted, in 2017, 73% of the cases returned a guilty verdict for the defendant. In 2018, after Court Monitors were initiated in those areas, that number increased to 75%. In those same areas, in 2017, 13% of DUI cases saw charges reduced or amended. Whereas, in 2018, only 8% had charges reduced or amended. In 2017, 11% of the DUI cases in the target areas had the charges dismissed. But after a year of court monitors reporting outcomes, only 6% of the DUI cases in 2018 had the charges dropped.
MADD knows that our law enforcement heroes, prosecutors, and judges are all working hard to protect Tennesseans and keep them safe from dangers on our roadways. But it takes all of us working together to keep DUI offenders accountable. We are proud to serve as a partner providing valuable information that can be used as a tool to help them in accomplishing this goal.