Monday, October 31, 2011


To the credit of our local Judges and attorneys, Pinellas County has instituted a reasonably enlightened treatment for some drug offenders (see below for qualifications). It would almost be enough to make even a jaded Clearwater Drug Defense Attorney smile were it not for the fact that the rules for the Drug Court Program allows prosecutors rather than Judges to determine who can be accepted into the program -- wouldn't it make more sense for an impartial Judge to decide who is worthy of the program and to expand the ability of Judges to dismiss or reduce charges where appropriate.

The cooperative effort of a team approach is a hallmark of the Sixth Judicial Circuit Adult Drug Treatment Court in Clearwater Florida, Pinellas County. It is a court-supervised, comprehensive drug treatment court for non-violent defendants, I guess that leaves me out. This is a voluntary program requiring frequent appearances before the Drug Court Judge, substance abuse treatment and frequent, random testing for substance abuse.
1. Successful completion of the Adult Drug Treatment Court plan may result in the dismissal of charges against defendants entering the program through Pre-Trial Intervention (defendants facing a first-time, non-violent, third-degree felony charge and admitted to Drug Court at the sole discretion of the State Attorney).
2. For defendants entering the Drug Court as a condition of probation (post-plea drug court), successful completion may result in adjudication being withheld and/or a reduced length of probation.
3. All participants are required to make frequent court appearance (judicial reviews). Participants will appear before the drug court judge every 30 to 45 days.
4. Drug court is a 24-month program. After completion at least one year, persons who have completed treatment, remained drug free and completed all of their requirements of Pre-Trial Intervention or probation may petition the court for a dismissal of the charges (Pre-Trial Intervention) or early termination of probation (post-plea drug court).
Pinellas County Drug Court
Most Recent Drug Court Stats from Pinellas
Florida State Courts
Drug court a success: research - National -

A recent painting depicts a Pinellas County Prosecutor making impartial decisions on which Defendants will be eligible for Drug Court in Clearwater, Florida. 
Picasso The Absinth Drinker 1901.  What? Can you repeat that?