On April 11, 2022, the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta announced the creation of a new pretrial diversion court, the Accountability, Treatment, and Leadership Court “ATL Court“. It is formed with the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Defender Program, and will be run by folks from each of these agencies who will be known as the ATL Court Team. Please note: The ATL Court is in addition to, and not a replacement of, the Northern District of Georgia’s existing Pretrial Diversion Program.
“THE ATL COURT MISSION: Our mission is to provide the opportunity to avoid some of the consequences of aberrant criminal conduct to certain individuals charged with non-violent crimes in the Northern District of Georgia who would most greatly benefit from intense supervision, education, or treatment.”
HOW ATL COURT WORKS
Procedurally, a request to apply must be granted by the ATL Court Team before a full application can even be submitted. Then, like other criminal cases pending in the federal criminal courts, a guilty plea will be entered by a formal plea agreement. In this agreement, participants will agree to do certain “chores” such as counseling, educational courses, completion of GED, etc. The “chores” are individualized for each defendant entering in to the program, but most will require counseling at the minimum. Once these “chores” are completed, the participants will receive what was delineated in the formal plea agreement: a sentence on the original charge with NO prison time, a reduction of their charge to a misdemeanor, or a complete dismissal of the case. Again, the resolution and specific chores are individualized for each participant depended on circumstances.
ATL Court is meant for the less serious of charges, and those without prior serious criminal convictions. It can only be implemented for people who were formally charged in 2022 or later. Therefore, not everyone will be eligible for the program.