The Montgomery County Prosecutor's Diversion Division offers a deferred prosecution program for first-time, non-violent felony offenders. Drug charges are generally excluded from consideration since those offenses are usually eligible for Intervention in Lieu of Conviction under O.R.C. Section 2951.04.1. The primary importance in selecting crimes that are appropriate for Diversion is public safety. No crimes of violence or crimes which hold a propensity for physical harm are included for consideration. Defendants are also required to compensate all victims. The program provides or requires the following:
It offers defendants charged with criminal offenses an alternative to traditional criminal justice proceedings. Participation by defendants is voluntary. Defendants must admit full culpability to all criminal charges approved by the Prosecutor's Office. Defendants have a legal right to counsel prior to and after participation if so desired. If defendants successfully complete the program, charges are formally dismissed and defendants avoid felony convictions on their record. Once a case has been dismissed, defendants have the opportunity to have their actual arrest records sealed by filing a motion in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court.
In addition to offering defendants an alternative to traditional criminal justice proceedings, it also offers victims and local law enforcement officials an opportunity to offer input into the process of assessing a defendant's consideration for participation in the program. Defendants are required to make full compensation to any and all victims who suffered a loss as a result of the criminal charges filed against them. They are also required to perform community service as a part of their Diversion contract. Since Mr. Heck took office in 1992, Diversion has screened an average of 829 cases per year and approved an average of 347 clients per year to participate in the program. During this same time period, approximately 68.5% of these defendants have had their cases closed and approximately 31.5% were returned to court due to failure to fulfill the terms of their contract. The Division has returned a yearly average of $459,000 in restitution directly to victims and on average defendants perform 7500 hours of community service per year.