Since 2005, Community Mediation has served as the Mediation Unit for the State's Attorney's Office in Cecil County. The Cecil County Community Mediation Center (CCCMC) is a nonprofit organization offering participants a way to resolve charges in certain criminal offenses through mediation rather than going through the court process.
By providing the complaining party and the defendant an opportunity to work out their dispute in a private mediation session, CCCMC supports the parties as they work toward and create an agreement that satisfies both participants. There is no cost to participate in mediation with CCCMC. If an agreement is not reached, the case will move forward in court.
The Cecil County Community Mediation Center is funded, in part, by a grant from the Maryland Mediation and Conflict Resolution Office (MACRO) located in Annapolis, MD.
Mediation is a process that brings people together to clarify issues, discuss options and, when possible, reach an agreement.Mediation is voluntary and confidential. Both parties must agree to participate in mediation before a session is scheduled. By using mediation, participants do not give up their legal rights. If an agreement is not reached, participants can continue with the court process.
The Cecil County Community Mediation Center provides free and professional mediation and conflict resolution training, through Community Mediation Maryland (CMM), for volunteers to serve as mediators for the community. A mediator is not a judge and does not provide advice, legal or otherwise, or make a decision for the participants. Since the participants know what they need better than anyone else, they make the decisions. Mediators support the participants through the mediation process.
A mediator first explains the process and answers any questions. Then each participant has time to explain why they came to mediation. The mediator then helps the participants discuss the dispute openly. Together, they identify issues and explore options so that the participants can develop an agreement to resolve the dispute. As a final step, the mediator writes the agreement in the words of the participants.
Mediation is scheduled at a time and location convenient for the participants. A mediation session lasts about two hours. If more time is needed, an additional session may be scheduled. Mediation is offered at no cost to the participants.
Participants usually come alone to mediation; however, if both participants agree that other participants present would help resolve the conflict, then they may attend.
The Mediation Center Coordinator may select cases for mediation or a District Court Commissioner may submit cases to mediation. The complaining party may request mediation by contacting the Mediation Center Coordinator directly. Cases only proceed to mediation with the approval of the State's Attorney or his designee.
Once the State’s Attorney approves a case for mediation, the Mediation Center Coordinator will contact the complaining party by letter with a copy to the defendant or the defendant's attorney. If the complaining party agrees to mediation, the case will be referred to CCCMC. CCCMC will contact both the complaining party and the defendant to offer mediation services, collect information, and schedule mediation at a mutually convenient place and time.Mediation in eligible criminal cases empowers participants to choose their own outcome. If participants reach an agreement in mediation, they will complete a case disposition request with the help of the mediator. They can request the State's Attorney to not prosecute the case or place the case on the stet docket until the terms of the agreement have been satisfied.