Conviction And Sentence Alternatives Program Central District of California (CASA)

The U.S. District Court, U.S. Pretrial Services Agency, U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO), and the Federal Public Defender’s Office for the Central District of California (FPD-CDCA) have designed the new Conviction And Sentence Alternatives (CASA) Program, which will seek to provide rehabilitative services to selected defendants. The CASA program is a post-guilty plea diversion program. Potential participants will be identified by the CASA program team. Participation will be entirely voluntary and must be approved by the judge presiding over the defendant’s criminal case (the originating judge).

A defendant who agrees to participate and whose participation is approved by the CASA program team and the assigned judge has his or her case transferred to one of the judges overseeing the CASA program (the “CASA Judge”). At this point, the defendant enters a guilty plea pursuant to a Rule 11(c)(1)(C) plea agreement that requires participation in the CASA program and specifies the benefit to be received if the program is successfully completed. After entering a guilty plea, each participant is subject to intensive pretrial services supervision. The conditions of supervision include regular appearances before the CASA program team, as well as participation in programs designed by the CASA program team to address the causes of the defendant’s criminal conduct (substance abuse and/or mental health treatment programs, employment/education services, etc.). Program participation lasts between 12 and 24 months. Each defendant determined by the CASA program team to have successfully completed the program receives the benefit specified in his or her plea agreement, including either:

  • Dismissal of the charges; or
  • A sentence that does not include a term of imprisonment.

Selection of candidates will be by consensus of the CASA program team. Each agency representative, including the CASA Judge, will have the ability to veto participation. In addition, as noted above, a defendant’s participation in the CASA program will also be subject to approval by the judge presiding over the defendant’s criminal case (the originating judge).

Defendants generally excluded from participation in the CASA program include those:

  • Subject to removal by immigration authorities;
  • Involved in child exploitation offenses, including possession or distribution of child pornography;
  • With more than minor involvement in large scale fraud or narcotics distribution; or
  • Specific acts of violence.

Defendants who fail to successfully complete the program will proceed to sentencing before the CASA Judge on the charges to which they entered guilty pleas.

Primary CASA contacts:

Raul Ayala, FPD-CDCA, Collaborative Courts Supervising Deputy Federal Public Defender (213) 894-7331
Timothy J. Searight, USAO CASA Coordinator (213) 894-3749
Calvin Thomas, Jr., USPSA, Supervising Pretrial Services Officer (213) 894‐8212

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