Early Case Resolution (ECR)

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What is ECR?

Early Case Resolution (ECR) is a formalized version of the plea bargaining processes used by the Provincial Crown in Edmonton. Through the ECR process a person is able to find out the position of the Crown if the accused wishes to enter an early guilty plea.


Credit is given to the accused for the plea being early. In most cases the position of the crown on sentencing will b harsher  after a trial than the position  they expressed in the ECR offer.


A note of caution: Once an ECR offer has been issued it is unlikely that another Crown Prosecutor will offer a better or substantially different position on sentencing than the one given in the first offer. For this reason it is very important to have any letters or documents you wish the crown to consider attached with the initial ECR application (see items to include under ‘How do I apply for ECR?’)

How do I apply for ECR?

The following is the application procedure used by the Provincial Crown in the City of Edmonton. If you’re in a court outside of Edmonton, or if it’s a Federal matter located in courtroom 267, you should contact Duty Counsel or one of the Courthouse information workers who can explain the different procedure.


In Edmonton the form used to apply for ECR is called the ‘The Purple Sheet’ because it’s purple. Purple Sheets are available from the Elizabeth Fry staff found in lobby near the Case Management Office, (CMO) from the Justice of the Peace working at the CMO, or on the Defence table in any of the docket court rooms you may find yourself appearing in (265, 268, or 356).


Filling out the Purple Sheet is easy. On the line labelled “Accused” write your first and last name, and then check the box for either In or Out of Custody. The “File Numbers” are the docket numbers of the charge(s) laid against you. A file or docket number always starts with two numbers indicating the year you were charged in (08 for 2008, 09 for 2009, 10 for 2010, etc...). It is followed by a series of numbers, and ends in P1. Your docket/file number(s) can be provided to you by Duty Counsel, the Elizabeth Fry Society staff, or by a Justice of the Peace working at the CMO. On the line under ‘File Numbers’ write all the file numbers you wish to have resolved. Then check the ‘Self-Represent’ box.


At the time the request to enter the ECR program is made you can submit a letter to the crown outlining any circumstances that may influence sentencing.  Items that may be helpful to have in the letter include any plans you have for the future (work or educational), if the crime is related to substance abuse any treatment you have taken for it, and medical treatment or counselling you have taken for any other medical issues. Do no downplay your responsibility or put forward a defence  in the letter; these are issues are best saved for a trial.


Note: If you have any outstanding warrants at the time you submit a request for ECR, the crown will not give you an offer.  To clear up your warrants and proceed you must attend a police station.


What do I do with my Offer?

There are 3 options for dealing with an ECR offer once it given to you:

1. Accept it
2. Reject it
3. Make a counter proposal


Generally an ECR offer is seen as a ‘final offer’.  Opportunities to make major counter proposals to the one given by the crown are rare. That being said, the crown may be willing to negotiate terms of probation, if you have a good reason.


By accepting an ECR offer you are  entering a guilty plea and are ‘joining’ the crown in the sentence proposal outlined in the offer letter you received.


Judges are not bound by the agreement you make with the crown regarding sentencing, but in order to reject the sentence the judge must believe the joint position is very unreasonable.


If you choose to reject an ECR offer you may go about it in 2 ways:

1. Plead not guilty and schedule a trial date, or
2. Enter a guilty plea and make your own submission as to what you believe is an appropriate sentence.


Should you wish to enter a guilty plea, the procedure for doing so can be found the "How to do Your Own Speak to Sentance”