City of Santa Fe Collaborating on Outreach Court | City of Santa Fe

City of Santa Fe Collaborating on Outreach Court

6 Dec, 2022

SANTA FE, December 6 – The Santa Fe Municipal Court is collaborating with the Office of the City of Santa Fe Prosecutor, the City of Santa Fe Public Defender, and community providers on an Outreach Court program for community members. The program is designed to support homeless and precariously housed individuals who have limited means to comply with conditions of the court and face challenges obtaining legal representation. Outreach Court provides a progressive diversionary program, allowing alternative resolutions in lieu of custody, fines, and fees for outstanding non-DUI (DWI) criminal, misdemeanor, and traffic cases. 

The program is unique from other specialty courts because it works with community members who are already engaged with service providers. Under the guidance of their community provider, participants may engage in life skills activities, substance abuse group meetings, literacy classes, and training, or search for employment, counseling, and programming aimed at improving their situations, and these endeavors satisfy the courts’ requirements to resolve the outstanding case. 

“This innovative program is designed to allow participants to be proactive and work toward reclaiming their lives before they even appear in the courtroom,” said Chad Chittum, Municipal Court Staff Attorney. “Penalties such as fines or incarceration only exacerbate the challenges faced by these vulnerable members of our community. Outreach Court is an opportunity to voluntarily move toward self-sufficiency. By the time they appear in court, they’ve already done the work toward reclaiming their future and are eligible to have all charges dismissed.” 

The Santa Fe Outreach Court follows the American Bar Association’s seven guiding principles for Homeless Courts and models itself after the San Diego Homeless Court.