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CSOSA Hosts Bulgarian Judges

Submitted by Cedric R. Hendricks, Associate Director, Office of Legislative, Intergovernmental and Public Affairs
(CSOSA Newslink, March 2003)

On March 13, 2003, CSOSA was host to a delegation of seven Bulgarian Judges visiting the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitors Program. The purpose of their trip was to learn about our nation's system of probation. Probation is not presently a sentencing option in Bulgaria. However, it is to be instituted for the first time during the coming year. The U.S. Department of Justice and the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) are assisting the Bulgarian Ministry of Justice with the development of probation policy and rules, and with training. The visit to CSOSA was arranged by NIC to give the judges first-hand information about our innovative probation supervision model. After leaving Washington, the delegation will meet with probation officials in Dallas, Reno, Phoenix, Hartford and New York City.

The delegation stopped first at CSOSA headquarters for a briefing by Agency Director Paul A. Quander, Jr. They also heard from Associate Director Thomas H. Williams, and Pretrial Services Agency Deputy Director Peter Krauthammer. An overview of agency operations was provided. The aspect of community supervision that appeared to intrigue the judges the most was our utilization of electronic monitoring technology.

Next, the delegation traveled D.C. Superior Court where they briefly met with Chief Judge Rufus King, Criminal Division Presiding Judge Noel Kramer and Judge Harold Cushenberry. The three Superior Court judges talked about the principles that guide their respective sentencing decisions, about their use of pre-sentence reports, and their workloads. The Bulgarian judges revealed during this encounter that, at present, their pre-sentence reports are prepared by the prosecutor's office, which obtains background information on the defendant from the police. In addition, they advised that until certain reforms were instituted two years ago, all cases went to trial.

A trip to CSOSA's new field unit at 25 K Street, NE, came next. There, the delegation received a detailed briefing on CSOSA operations from Branch Chiefs Tanya Ray and John Milam, along with a group of Supervisory Community Supervision Officers (SCSOs) and Community Supervision Officers (CSOs). Presentations were made about our special supervision activities in the areas of domestic violence, sex offender and substance abuse. SCSOs Curtis Sessoms, Paul Brennan, and John Robertson along with CSOs Valerie Canady, Rodney Carter, Kim Lewis, and Lead Drug Testing Technician Sammy Sohrab each did an excellent job presenting and responding to our guests' questions.

Finally, the delegation spent some time watching arraignments in Courtroom C-10. Pretrial Services Officer Demond Tigs explained the process and arranged for the delegation members to talk with both the Assistant U.S. Attorney and defense counsel.

Each of the seven judges expressed appreciation for the excellent learning experience that CSOSA provided. They said it helped prepare them for the challenges ahead.

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