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Case Recommendation

The domestic conflicts, namely the one between the Russell family and the tenants of the fraternity house, are quite common. Nevertheless, without close monitoring, they may lead to the criminal behavior on the part of their participants. As a result, it is necessary to resort to the dispute resolution services to prevent such situations from occurring. However, nowadays, their numbers are quite significant. In the conditions of the limited financial resources (i.e. the grants to the local justice system), it is unfeasible to resort to all of them at once. By considering the information provided in the case of the Russell family, it is possible to narrow their list, leaving only the four options in it. The following work focuses on the application of the chosen dispute resolution services to the case and the justification of their selection. Additionally, it provides recommendations regarding the development of the situation and the communication with the offended.

The first of the proposed options is a university-based peer mediation service. Given the fact that the offenders that harassed Russell family were students living in the fraternity house, it is possible to assume that they are registered in the database that is related to the mediation program. As a result, establishing the contact with it will allow not only obtaining the necessary information about them, but also taking measures to prevent the events described in the case from occurring in the future.

At the same time, one cannot deny the limited nature of the dispute resolution initiative described above. In particular, it targets only the students, leaving all the other social groups uncovered. Considering the fact that a person that engaged in a verbal fight with Ann Russell was not a house member, there is a possibility that he is not affiliated with an educational facility. In turn, it is necessary to attract the community relations/neighborhood watch council support service to the process of the case resolution. Given the fact that the offender could have been visiting the area frequently, the people living there may have valuable insights or information about him, including the one regarding the violations of the law. Moreover, since there is a risk of further damage to the property in case of formal charges, the collaboration with the neighborhood watch may be necessary to prevent it from occurring.

It should be noted that both of the initiatives mentioned above do not have any legal power, with their primary purpose being the identification of the offenders. As a result, their activities have to be complemented with those of the other community services, such as the small-claims court. The primary reason for this choice is the fact that the violation of law took place during the confrontation between the Russell family and the students, including the threats (“people like you always get what you deserve”), with the inviolability of the person from psychological iolence being the object of a crime. Moreover, civilian property was damaged as a result of the conflict. At the same time, the damage was not significant (i.e. less than $ 5,000), thus, eliminating the need for the use of court-sponsored arbitration services.

Finally, it is necessary to use the housing/tenants rights information service. The reason for such choice is the fact that the violation of the tenants’ right to freedom for harassment took place during the conflict (the disturbance of public order, verbal fight with the neighbors, etc.). As a result, the Russell family might want to know in detail about their rights and obligations. Such knowledge is especially important in case they decide to come forward with the formal charges against the offenders. At the same time, on the contrary to all the other options, this service does not handle the matters directly, simply providing the consultations to its users. As a result, it must be perceived as a secondary measure in terms of resolving the conflict.

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By taking into account all the provided information, it is possible to develop the following course of actions to address the problem and ensure that similar issues will not repeat in the future. First of all, it is required to establish the contact with the university-based peer mediation service. In this case, two goals have to be achieved. The primary one involves the acquisition of necessary information about the tenants of the fraternity house, namely the one regarding their delinquent behavior in the past (e.g. bullying, fighting, assaulting, etc.). In turn, it will be possible not only to identify the offenders but also determine whether it will be necessary to take the additional preventive measures (e.g. the involvement of the neighborhood watch) depending on their behavioral patterns. The secondary goal is related to the mitigation of the effects of the students’ delinquency in the long perspective. In particular, the use of the peer mediation service can help with the organization of meeting of the offenders and the offended to settle the dispute without attracting the law enforcement agencies.

The collaboration with the neighborhood watch council has to be performed simultaneously with the step described above. As it was mentioned before, resorting to the services it provides may help identify the offender that was not a member of the house. Moreover, in case there is a possibility of further damage to the property that belongs to the Russell family, it is required to monitor the area near their apartment. As a result, the watch will report all the unusual activity to the police, preventing the events described in the case from occurring in the future.

In case there is a need to turn to the law enforcement agencies for the help, it is necessary to use the housing/tenants-rights information service. In such was, the Russells will be able to obtain a better understanding of their rights as tenants, namely the right too freedom from harassment. This knowledge may serve as a basis for their oral pleading in case they choose to proceed with the formal charges. In turn, the final step has to be taken in case the sides of the conflict have failed to reach the agreement. It involves the trial in the small-claims court. Given the fact that the incident has been provoked by the students, which were also involved in dealing damage to civilian property, the case will be decided in favor of the Russell family. Nevertheless, considering that such turn of events may spoil the reputation of the educational facility the offenders attended in the long perspective and have an adverse effect on the nearby area, it is advisable to avoid it and try to resolve the conflict in a more peaceful way.

Naturally, the Russell family plays a key role in the proposed course of actions, since they are the ones that must follow it. As a result, it is imperative that they receive a message describing all the necessary steps they have to take to address the existing problem. Thus, the Russells must be contacted via mail. The primary reason for such choice is the fact that the written speech serves as a means of documentary recording of the data. In turn, the document becomes a tool for the formal relations between the members of the society and public organizations. Moreover, it provides a permanent information footprint of a message, as the recipient can store it, viewing it at his leisure, which is especially important for the set of recommendations regarding the resolution of the conflict. The letter must start with the condolences regarding the incident to ensure the offended that they have the support of the local justice system. The rest of it must be written in the informative tone, thoroughly describing the measures that can be taken and their potential outcomes. There must be an emphasis on the necessity of achieving a peaceful solution. At the same time, there must be no pressure as the decision regarding the feasibility of proceeding with the formal charges against the offenders is a prerogative of the offended.

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In conclusion, it is possible to say that the proposed course of actions is not the ultimate one as its steps may be changed or replaced, depending on the situation (e.g. the willingness of the sides of the conflict to cooperate with each other). For example, in case the use of a university-based peer mediation service provides the required result, there is no need to resort to trials or tenants rights information. On the other hand, there is still a chance that proceeding with the formal charges will lead to the response on the part of the offenders and the further damage to the civilian property. In turn, there may be a need for the use of the court-sponsored arbitration services, as well as the involvement of the local circuit court. Nevertheless, the case recommendation described above provides a basic algorithm for the resolution of a conflict between the Russell family and the tenants of the fraternity house in at least two ways.

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