The online version of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported today that Boone County, Kentucky, court officials have implemented a ground-breaking initiative to resolve felony cases through mediation. Felony cases were included among the cases sent to mediation during “Settlement Week”, a time set aside to resolve cases that have languished on the court’s docket for several years. The felony cases selected to be included as part of settlement week were handpicked for their appropriateness for mediation and did not involve violent crimes.
Using “settlement weeks” to reduce the burden on court dockets has become a popular practice in other states as well, including Rhode Island, New Jersey, and Ohio.
Whether other states follow Kentucky’s lead in using mediation to resolve felony cases remains to be seen, but for cases that do not involve victims of crimes of violence, mediation may be a way to minimize delays in hearing cases and result in a more efficient use of judicial resources.