The Pros And Cons Of Drug Courts

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Drug courts are specialized courts, which is an alternative to criminal court, for offenders who have drug or alcohol dependency problems. When they were established in 1989, their main purpose was to help prevent overcrowding in prisons, by giving low risk drug offenders an alternative option (Fulkerson). A couple more reasons drug courts were brought into the picture were to keep court costs down and be able to provide the offenders with personalized treatment to help them overcome their drug problems (NDCI). The drug court process takes away the label of being a criminal and provides a safe support group like process where the judge, prosecution, defense attorneys, and treatment providers work together to help treat the offender.
There are
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With these points, I will explain why drug courts should not be expanded.
The first problem that arises with drug courts is that not all drug offenders are eligible to go through drug court. The Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits States from "denying to any person within their jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." (cornell). Attorneys representing multiple clients in drug courts within a state or jurisdiction may have a client in one part of the state is able to enter a drug court while a client with similar charges in another part of the state may not be eligible. Of the drug offenders, the only ones who are eligible are the offenders who volunteer to plea guilty and are arrested for their first or second drug offense and don’t have a history of violence. Drug courts typically require a guilty plea for admission, and according to the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, prosecutors in many cases require
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Due process is generally giving the opportunity to obtain a fair adjudication on the merits while equal protection is designed to ensure no differential treatment to two similarly situated classes of offenders(Meyer). When some drug court offenders are terminated from the program, they are deprived of their due process right of having a hearing which they are entitled to. It would not be fair for a drug court participant not to receive a hearing when jail time is possible, when a probationer or parolee is allowed a hearing for their revocation. On the other hand, where they do give a drug court offender a hearing, then there is a high chance for bias from the judge for the termination of the offender (meyer). Most of the time, it is the same judge that does the termination hearing and runs drug court, therefore, causing an unfair determination if an offender should be terminated. In the Superior Court case, Gross v. State of Maine, the drug court team discussed the termination decision during the termination hearing, without defendant’s presence or that of his counsel. That procedure coupled by the fact the Superior Court felt that the drug court judge should have withdrawn from the case to avoid bias, resulted in a finding of constitutional infirmity. Moreover, the appellate court ruled the defendant did not and arguably could not prospectively waive his rights by citing LaPlaca and Staley. This

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