No one likes being called an oddity and I am sure these courts are no different. However, they are odd insofar as they are both unique and not readily defined as courts. Some are actually quite new to the court system.
These “courts” are also called Drug Courts. They exist in every county of the state and their purpose is to rehabilitate drug addicts who have been charged with various non-violent criminal offenses. These courts are not your typical adversarial proceedings. Instead, there is a “team approach” to those individuals who have voluntarily entered the court (by signing a contract). The team most often consists of the judge of the Drug Treatment Court, attorneys appointed to the court, Department of Social Services caseworkers, Probation personnel, various treatment providers, counselors, and, sometimes, personnel from the District Attorney’s Office.
Normally, I advise my clients to steer well clear of this “court” if they are able to. Why? Because it may not be for every client and because “the law” basically does not apply in this court. “The law” is really whatever the court decides it is, relative to each participant. This court micro-manages the lives of those voluntarily within its jurisdiction. This court will direct what medications you are able to take, where you can live, with whom you are able to live, and what employment you are required to engage in and when. And you will be subjected to very frequent and random drug testing, usually in the form of urinalysis. And it can take as long as two (2) or more years to “graduate” from Drug Treatment Court. It is very much like a civilian form of boot camp. It attempts to break drug addicts of their addictions and rebuild their lives, re-integrating them into society as constructive and productive, law-abiding citizens.
Continue reading →