SIXTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT
In the Sixth Judicial District there are six circuit courts, seven district courts and four juvenile courts to manage the largest caseload in the state. The Office of the Prosecuting Attorney supplies enough deputy prosecutors to oversee the wide variety of crimes committed in the district.
Domestic Violence / Sexual Asssault Unit
The Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault Unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney handles and tries crimes such as rape, incest, sex crimes, violence involving family members or past or present household members and other related crimes. This unit requires special training and rapport with traumatized, frightened and youthful victims.
The Drug Unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney handles and tries crimes involving controlled substances including cocaine, methamphetamine, LSD and marijuana. These crimes include delivery, manufacturing, possession, and maintaining drug premises.
Subdivisions in this unit include Asset Forfeiture, Abatement of Drug Houses and Drug Diversion Program.
The Gang Unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney specializes in gang-related crimes including drive-by shootings, drug offenses, thefts and other crimes committed by gang members. This unit develops information related to those who commit these organized group crimes.
General Jurisdiction Crimes Unit
The General Jurisdiction Crimes unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney handles offenses including DWIs, vice offenses, thefts, robberies, hot checks, terroristic threatening, assault and battery. This unit processes the bulk of felony crimes.
Homicide / High Profile Crimes Unit
The Homicide/High Profile Crimes Unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney handles crimes ranging from manslaughter to capital murder. Capital crimes often involve the most intensive trial preparation, research and coordination.
Youth Crimes Unit
The Youth Crimes Unit of the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney prosecutes crimes in the juvenile courts and handles a wide variety of crimes including homicides.
As an alternative to formal juvenile court charges, a youth may be recommended for the Pre-charging Diversion Program, coordinated by the diversion supervisor. This program provides youthful offenders with peer sentencing as an option to formal adjudication in Juvenile Court. The program discourages juvenile crime and teaches meaningful lessons about accepting responsibility for actions.
Program participants must be between the ages of twelve and seventeen and charged with a non-violent offense in the Prosecutor's Judicial District. The Deputy Prosecutor reviews the nature of a juvenile's offense and determines whether that juvenile is appropriate for Diversion. If the youth is eligible for Diversion, the parents are contacted and a meeting is arranged to enroll the juvenile in the program. After providing the parent and child with information regarding the Diversion program, it is their decision to accept or reject the program. Once enrolled, the youth is required to report for sentencing by a teen court.
In teen court volunteers present the facts surrounding the case to the court. Attorneys for the program are youth volunteers recruited from the community. The jurors are defenders who are already fulfilling their sentences. The youth must then fulfill the sentence imposed or be removed from the Diversion Program and returned to the Juvenile Court system.
Sentencing for the offender includes a combination of community payback, education classes and jury duty. The juveniles are required to perform a number of hours of community service work. A member of the community or Diversion staff supervises the work. Community service is performed for nonprofit organizations that target the community. Six to thirty-six hours of community service are handed down to the defendant. Juveniles attend education classes presented by a law educator from the Arkansas Attorney General's Office providing information regarding self-esteem, anger management, consequences of drug and alcohol, making choices and setting goals. During the education component, the youth submits an education paper assigned by the resource officer. One to three education classes are handed down to the defendant. By sitting in judgment over incoming youth, juveniles learn the importance of accountability and accepting responsibility for actions. This portion of the program gives juveniles a sense of coming full circle. Two to six jury terms are served by the defendant as part of the sentence. Offenders with controlled substance charges are referred to designated agencies outside the program as an additional component of Diversion.