An Atlantic County Superior Court program more than halved the time it took cases to go through the criminal court system, according to information released Monday.

The accelerated disposition program, or ADP, began a little more than a year ago, and put through 506 cases, which had to meet certain criteria that allowed them to bypass the traditional prosecution course.

“I am thrilled with the outcomes achieved in the first year of the program," said Criminal Presiding Judge Michael Donio, who established the program in collaboration with the county prosecutor, public defender and private defense attorneys. "I very much appreciate the cooperation from the county prosecutor and all the defense attorneys.”  

About half of the 506 cases that went through the program ended with guilty pleas, with half of those defendants then released on their own recognizance.

Another 218 went through the pre-trial intervention program, which allows a defendant to avoid conviction by completing a program.

Of those remaining: 19 were admitted to drug court and 15 were dismissed.

The program is meant to improve the criminal justice system by lessening the wait time for incarcerated defendants, reduce jail populations and incarceration costs and reduce the caseload, allowing the state and defense to dedicate resources to more serious cases.

“The program is a win-win situation for all involved," said Superior Court Judge Mark Sandson, the lead ADP judge said, "The defendants have their charges adjudicated quickly and the matters are not hanging over their heads for months, causing anxiety over an uncertain outcome.”

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Senior copy editor for the Press of Atlantic City. Have worked as a reporter, copy editor and news editor with the paper since 1985. A graduate of the University of Delaware.