WELCOME TO THE OFFICIAL RICHARD E GERSTEIN JUSTICE BUILDING BLOG. THIS BLOG IS DEDICATED TO JUSTICE BUILDING RUMOR, HUMOR, AND A DISCUSSION ABOUT AND BETWEEN THE JUDGES, LAWYERS AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT STAFF, CLERKS, COURT REPORTERS, AND CORRECTIONAL OFFICERS WHO LABOR IN THE WORLD OF MIAMI'S CRIMINAL JUSTICE. THIS BLOG HAS BEEN CALLED "THE DEFINITIVE BLOG ON MIAMI CRIMINAL LAW" BY THE NY TIMES, THE WASHINGTON POST, THE POPE, AND DONALD TRUMP WHO ALSO ONCE SAID IT WAS "REALLY GREAT". POST YOUR COMMENTS, OR SEND RUMPOLE A PRIVATE EMAIL AT HOWARDROARK21@GMAIL.COM

Tuesday, June 09, 2015

DRUG COURT LITE

"LESS FILLING…"
"GREAT TASTE…."
Remember the ad campaigns for Miller Lite? 


Dear Membership:

As many of you know the State Attorney’s Office has recently begun a drug diversion program through Advocate that some are referring  to as “Drug Court Lite.” There has been some confusion as to how it is being implemented and who qualifies for it. In hopes of alleviating this confusion the members of the FACDL/SAO liaison committee asked to have the State Attorney clarify exactly how the program works. At our last meeting on June 4th Chief of Staff Esther Jacobo was kind enough to answer our questions and provide clarification as to the design of the program.

In summary, “Drug Court Lite” is not offered by the in court ASA- so don’t ask them. Rather, when a client is offered and accepts Drug Court as a diversionary plea they report to Drug Court as usual and are evaluated by the drug court program. If they are determined to be “low risk/low need” by the drug court evaluator they can then be placed in “Drug Court Lite.” “Drug Court Lite” is monitored by The Advocate Program not by the “Drug Court.” Your client will only be required to appear in court for the initial evaluation and then again to accept their nolle pros or other agreed upon resolution- hopefully. The program itself is geared specifically toward low need offenders and is not designed for people suffering from significant addiction issues. While the enrollees of “Drug Court Lite” are randomly screened for drug use the classes are more focused on how to make better life choices and not end up back in the criminal justice system as opposed to more classic drug treatment and assessment. The program is designed to run no less than 3 months; however, it is important that you do not give a finite timeline to your client as positive drug tests and failure to attend meetings can result in extended enrollment. If a client does test positive or violates they are then given the option of attending the full drug court program or returning to division.

Below please find the guidelines and procedures as set out by the State Attorney’s Office.  

 (Rumpole says…turn back now before it's too late!!) 

·         When defendant is (sort of a weird singular reference. Wouldn't it read better if it was "when defendants are..?)  referred to drug court for screening there is no guarantee that he/she will be eligible to go into the Advocate program
·         If they do qualify for the advocate program the following will be required.
o   The time frame is no less than 3 months.
o   Psycho –educational  course (no more than 12 hours) For some defendants the course is available on line (A psycho educational course sounds only slightly less terrifying than a psycho-ex boyfriend or girlfriend)
o   Remain arrest free (what's the opposite of arrest free? And by definition when arrested aren't you no longer free?) 
o   No drinking or drugs (Rumpole notes that people can only last a few days without consuming water, which they usually drink. This doesn't look good). 
o   Random drug testing (are they testing for random drugs or testing randomly? It's not clear. "hmmm…he's positive for insulin, coreg and xenacore- I'd say we have a diabetic, hypertensive person with high cholesterol on our hands.") 
o   All supervision will be done by Advocate and the defendant will not have to report to court until he successfully completes
·         If the defendant is referred to advocate and violates any of the conditions he will be bounced out and may continue in full drug court or decide to go back to division.
·         If upon screening the defendant is not eligible for advocate but is eligible  for drug court he/she  may choose to stay in drug court or go back to division
·         There is NO PREP for the screening. We cannot give you the criteria that will make defendant eligible for the shorter program. The screening is done by trained professionals with an evidence based tool.  (translated - "oh magic eight ball, which shall it be? drug court or drug court lite? ")

Thank you to Esther Jacobo and the Ms. Fernandez Rundle for the clarification. (And Rumpole's thoroughly unhelpful snide comments).

All the Best,


13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Long time coming. I used to advise clients, who did not have immigration issues, to reject drug court and accept the w/h ses, because a one year intensive program for a recreational user or, perhaps, a first time user, seemed like overkill.

FACDL Listserve Leaker said...

I am really looking forward to the clear guidelines on what CAN be said here when criticizing or assessing the bench and judicial politics, and what CANNOT be said.

Per Rumpole at 4:16 Tuesday, and Anonymous 12:41 Tuesday, I completely understand that we may no longer make mention of any gender issues and must henceforth pretend that gender plays no role in these matters. (Or even, one supposes, that gender exists.) Query: Who is going to tell Bob, Armando, Hector and the gang that gender is no longer an issue in judicial elections? Because I kinda think they kinda think it is. (Oh and the voters. Someone needs to tell the voters.)

But the rules beyond gender are not so clear.

May we still discuss how ethnicity and race impact judicial selection and election? Because that might hurt someone's feelings, too. And really, what evidence is there that in down-ballot, low information elections among a population with a supermajority of one ethnicity that there is any disadvantage at all to those who inhabit the smallest minority? Why, just the sheer number of African American judges CLEARLY demonstrates how straight and broad their path to the bench is here. So let's just stop pretending ethnicity or race matter and let's have no more talk of such upsetting things.

And what of experience -- both its length and breadth? Aren't we concerned that those with the bare minimum years required to take the bench will consider us reverse-ageist if we point out that someone with six years out of law school might just POSSIBLY benefit from some more life experience before deciding the fate of her - - sorry - - his -- oops -- before deciding the fate of ITS fellow citizen?

And certainly we cannot continue our considerations of what effects there may be when all those six long years are spent as a state prosecutor. That's just, um, rank anti-prosecutorism.

Really, best to just pretend, er, acknowledge, that all judicial selection in Miami Dade County is based on merit and merit alone. Gender, ethnicity, experience are all worse than irrelevant.

After all, Judge Gordo is a "Legend of of Bench."

Anonymous said...

Who here hates the new CJIS website-so improved that you have to type in a different security word before every single case look-up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 11:24 for pointing out issues that really matter! Tell Harvey to get rid of that crap.

Anonymous said...

Lots of problems with new website. The driver license search doesn't work, and i haven't been able to request court dates.
Anyone know who we complain to? Besides Rumpole.

Anonymous said...

Why can't the Clerk's Office ever change for the better anything that's computer related? Who came up with a useless captcha that all it does is slow work? Newer bots can defeat captchas more than 99% of the time, so there is no justification for it.

Anonymous said...

Taste great

Anonymous said...

Me too. I'm really unhappy with the new Clerk web stuff. I hope they come up with a portal lawyers can use that doesn't make us put those stupid security codes in every fucking time I look up a case.
Very truly yours,
Mr. Tired Fingers, Esq.

Anonymous said...

Less filling

Anonymous said...

Drug Court Lite, yet another passing of the the buck by the SAO to their "Enforcers" outfit the "Advocate(eventually Court Options)". Why doesn't KFR just order her minions to dismiss all these cases, since eventually the judges will be taking over and ordering her ASAs to dismiss or send to Drug Ct Lite.

So now we are going to have: arrested -> DC Lite -> Def refuses or reuses, takes DC Reg, ends up dirty or suicidal after dealing with Drug Court dictator, aka Judge Cohen, and all the former drug addicts who now run Drug Court Programs or "former users" -> goes to Division, where ASA & Defense push Pretrial Diversion, gets kick out if tests dirty or resent to start DC Lite process again, all this taking the same amount of time if not more. Just legalize drugs if you don't want to enforce the laws KFR and stop all the BS and jumping of hoops for defendants and PDs/Defense!

Anonymous said...

Bulls ear, catnip!

Anonymous said...

Time for Harvey to retire.

Anonymous said...

calling Judge Cohen a dictator is putting it lightly. She is out of control beyond words.