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Thursday, October 25, 2012

DUI Court Work Group Schedules First Meeting

DUI Court Work Group Schedules First Meeting

October 25th, 2012
justiceWeeks after Potter County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAB) members approved a plan that calls for major changes in the local court system, a work group will be meeting to lay the groundwork for the first of several anticipated phases. Overarching goal of CJAB is to reduce the number of individuals coming into repeated contact with the legal system through an intensive program addressing addiction issues. Initially, the “specialty courts” will address crimes involving alcoholism — DUI, in particular — but its mission may become much broader. Future phases could bring other criminal defendants diagnosed as addicts to the specialty court system. New criminal procedures could also be put in place for those with diagnosed mental health issues and military veterans who face unique circumstances as a result of trauma they’ve faced during times of service.

Those who are diverted from the traditional criminal court — and potential prison terms and other penalties — would be chosen carefully and be closely supervised. If they failed to comply with treatment plans and other requirements ordered by the court, they would be returned to the traditional criminal justice system.

President Judge Stephen Minor is spearheading the specialty court system, in consultation with the CJAB. A work group has been appointed and includes Judge Minor, Senior Judge John Leete, District Attorney Andy Watson, Public Defender Brent Petrosky, Chief Probation Officer John Moshier, Potter County Drug & Alcohol Treatment Services Director Colleen Wilber, Commissioner Paul Heimel, State Police Trooper Michael Delp, Sheriff/Jail Warden Ken Sauley and counselor Arnie Haskins. Models of other DUI courts in Pennsylvania are currently being studied by work group members, who will convene on Nov. 5 to begin piecing together a blueprint for the local court


Anonymous said...

I commend all who are involved in this. We obviously can't punish and incarcerate ourselves out of this growing epidemic of substance abuse that has been taking over Potter County in case you haven't noticed.

Anonymous said...

At this point it's unclear if this is actually a program to try and logically and responsibly address substance abuse as the illness it is


If this is just to streamline sentencing and convictions to free up the regular court's schedule.

I'm not sure there is any evidence to suggest this program will work any better than the rest.

They still rely on the destructive and proven failures of prohibition and any deviation from the program results in the standard 'lock em up and forget em' approach we know both doesn't work and costs way way too much money.

What good is trying this new system if at the first hiccup you thrown them back into the old one?

It seems more like "hey, we aren't actually going to change anything, but we will sure look like we are"

Don't forget, many of these spearheads have to run for office.

The only thing they love more than actual results is projecting the appearance of results w/o doing anything at all.

Anonymous said...

To 1:31. I know several of these panel members and I can tell you that the ones I know really do want to see the system function more effectively and make it more feasible for those with alcoholism to get help and get sober instead of getting free room and board in our jail again and again. That is not politics, it is good leadership.