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Prosecutor wants to replicate model

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Third District Court's domestic violence court is changing and cases now are being heard by several judges because a major switch has occurred regarding such crimes.

Starting on July 1, 2002, Salt Lake City misdemeanors cases that are class B or below will be filed in a new municipal justice court that is now being established.

Certain other communities already have justice courts such as West Valley City, and now Salt Lake City will join those ranks.

Salt Lake City is working on a downtown building to house its new justice court.

But Salt Lake City prosecutor Sim Gill said he intends to replicate the domestic violence court established by 3rd District Judge Sheila McCleve in the city's new venture.

"We see the inherent success of this model, we see the fairness of it, and the unique ability to intervene in the cycle of abuse," Gill said. "It is a very comprehensive and realistic approach to this very complicated issue."

Most important, Gill said, is the "investment in time" by judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys to ensure continuity in such cases and to make certain that defendants comply with treatment programs, get their cases reviewed regularly and achieve the goal of changing their behavior.

Class A misdemeanors involving domestic violence still will be heard in 3rd District Court, as will felonies. The other misdemeanor domestic violence cases in 3rd District Court are now being assigned to various judges.