Jonathan Wiggs, Staff Writer for the The Boston Globe reported that on July 16th Massachusetts’ highest court ruled that judges may jail someone with an addiction who is on probation if that person does not remain drug-free.
In a unanimous ruling, Supreme Judicial Court justices rejected the argument that it is unconstitutional to incarcerate someone who violates probation by relapsing because relapse is a symptom of the disease of addiction.
The decision centered on the case of Julie Eldred, who in 2016 was sentenced by a Concord District Court judge to 10 days in jail after she tested positive for fentanyl.
In a lawsuit, Eldred contended that the court had violated her constitutional rights by ordering her to remain drug-free because her substance use disorder made it “virtually impossible” for her to abstain through sheer will.
The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that judges, while they should consider the challenges of drug addiction, “must have the authority to detain a defendant” who has violated probation by using drugs.
“Such decisions should be made thoughtfully and carefully, recognizing that addiction is a status that may not be criminalized,” Justice David A. Lowy wrote for the seven-member court. “But judges cannot ignore the fact that relapse is dangerous for the person who may be in the throes of addiction and, often times, for the community in which that person lives.”
Judge John S Kennedy (retired), wrote an op ed, Catch and Release of Repeat Impaired Drivers in Pennsylvania Needs to End, after yet another repeat DUI offender injured innocent civilians. Judge Kennedy suggests that, programs like Target 25 and 24/7 programs should be utilized to combat the recidivist behavior of drunk drivers.
Judge Kennedy’s Target 25 program in York County, PA reduced victims’ claims by 50%. Equally impressive results have been generated in evidence based 24/7 programs across the country that follow the National 24/7 Advisory Council’s ‘Best Practices’.
At the American Academy of Forensic Science’s 70th Annual Scientific Meeting in Seattle, Washington earlier this year, Gil Sapir and Donald J. Ramsell, co-authored and presented, Due Process: Unscrambling SCRAM.
The authors suggested to the forensic science community that the “use of convenient biomonitoring devices should not usurp scientific accuracy and reliability in the judicial process.”
The presentation was insightful and raised some interesting points to consider for those interested in the testing methodology.
In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ highest court, Julie Eldred is challenging a condition of her probation. Are sanctions for positive drug tests a cruel and unusual punishment for a person with a substance abuse disorder?
Jan Hoffman wrote a piece in the NY Times, She Went to Jail for a Drug Relapse. Tough Love or Too Harsh that reviews this pivotal case.
24/7 Wall Street reviewed the adult excessive drinking rate in 381 U.S. metro areas to identify the 20 drunkest (and 20 driest) cities. The cities with the highest excessive drinking rates are concentrated in the Midwest, while those with the lowest rates are mostly in southern states. View Entire Article
NHTSA FR 2018
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Department of Transportation (DOT) published the final rule. The final rule makes changes and clarifications to the revised uniform procedures implementing State highway safety grant programs in response to comments received on the interim final rule published May 23, 2016.
The final rule is effective 30 DAYS FROM DATE OF PUBLICATION IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER.
24-7 Sobriety Programs Grants
The IFR implemented the statutory requirement that States meet two separate requirements for a 24-7 sobriety grant. The first requirement mandates that a State enact and enforce a law that requires all individuals convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or of driving while intoxicated to receive a restriction on driving privileges for at least 30 days. The second requirement mandates that a State provide a 24-7 sobriety program.
For more information, access the Final Rule through link above…
Iowa moves forward with Statewide 24/7 Program
Iowa Continues Effort Towards a Statewide 24/7 Program
After a competitive bid process, the State of Iowa has selected a web-based data management system for their statewide 24/7 Sobriety Program.
Administrative rules are being finalized now.
Indications are that Woodbury County (Sioux City), will be the first county in the State to implement the program in 2018.
Governor Matt Mead recently presented a special Leadership Award to Sheriff Mike Lowell and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office.
The award is from the Governor’s Council on Impaired Driving (GCID) and recognizes the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office “leadership and determined efforts” in being the first county in Wyoming to implement the 24/7 Sobriety Program.
Read More: http://www.sweetwaternow.com/sweetwater-county-sheriffs-office-receives-special-award1/