The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia Announces New Diversion Court

Monday, April 11, 2022

Today the Northern District of Georgia announces the launch of a new pretrial diversion court—the Accountability, Treatment, and Leadership Court (“ATL Court”)—which will provide an alternative to incarceration for federal pretrial defendants who are admitted into the program. The mission of the ATL Court is to give non-violent offenders who would benefit from intense supervision, education, or treatment the opportunity to avoid the life-changing consequences of incarceration.

The ATL Court is a collaborative effort between the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Probation Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the Federal Defender Program. It is modeled after pretrial diversion courts in similar federal districts that have demonstrated resounding success, including the SOAR program in the Northern District of Illinois and the CASA program in the Central District of California.

“Our court is proud to participate in a program that will seek to rehabilitate non-violent offenders who are at a critical juncture in their lives. This is not a get-out-of-jail-free card. It will require participants to prove that they can become law abiding and productive members of our community, and that they deserve the chance to avoid the consequences that come with traditional criminal justice penalties,” said Chief Judge Timothy C. Batten, Sr.

After entering a guilty plea, each participant will be subject to intense supervision and other requirements, including regular appearances before a presiding district judge or magistrate judge, as well as participation in individualized programs designed to address the root cause of their criminal conduct. Such conditions may include substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, employment services, and educational programs. Participants who successfully complete the program, which will last between twelve and twenty-four months, could earn the imposition of a non-custodial sentence, reduction to a misdemeanor conviction, or even dismissal of the charges.

Participation in the ATL Court will be very limited and highly competitive. An ATL Court overview document with more information is available here. Individuals interested in applying should consult with their attorneys and submit a Request to Apply, available here, as soon as practicable. Filing instructions are available here.