For years, many North Carolina community mediation centers have partnered with their local district attorneys and judges to make mediation available in North Carolina’s district criminal courts. These efforts have been successful and many misdemeanor criminal cases have been settled to the satisfaction of complaining witnesses, defendants, and others involved in these disputes. Settlements have also meant that the State was saved the expense of a trial. The community mediation centers involved in these efforts are non-profit agencies dedicated to the peaceful resolution of conflict in North Carolina’s communities. Many of the mediators who serve these centers are volunteers working to help their fellow citizens.
In 2006, the Dispute Resolution Commission set about creating a framework to formalize and standardize the process of mediating misdemeanor criminal matters. Legislation providing for statewide certification and regulation of district criminal court mediators, G.S. 7A-38.3D, was enacted by the General Assembly in 2007, Also in 2007, the Supreme Court of North Carolina adopted Rules Implementing Mediation In Matters Pending In District Criminal Court.
Since 2007, a number of community mediation centers have opted to participate in the District Criminal Court Mediation Program, submitting their mediators for certification and regulation by the Commission and mediating cases referred by their local district criminal courts in accordance with the Supreme Court’s Rules.
Certification criteria are set forth in DCC Certification Requirements Rule 7.