White House Drug Policy Director Speaks at DC Drug Court Intervention Program Graduation, Celebrates National Drug Court MonthRead the full article
By Anita Jarman
In celebration of National Drug Court Month, President Obama’s top Drug Policy Advisor, Michael Botticelli, delivered the keynote address at the DC Superior Court’s Drug Intervention Program Graduation and Progression Ceremony. “Twenty-six years ago I sat in the same place, but I made that very wise decision to seek help and get treated,” stated Botticelli. For the past twenty years, the DC Superior Court Drug Intervention Program (SCDIP)1 run by the Pretrial Services Agency has provided an intensive sanctions and incentives based substance abuse treatment program for certain defendants charged with misdemeanors and non-violent felonies. Judge Gregory Jackson is the presiding judge of SCDIP.
This month’s ceremony celebrated all those progressing from Phase I to Phase II, from Phase II to Phase III, from Phase III to Phase IV...and most significantly, the five individuals who successfully completed the program and had their cases dismissed. Former Drug Court graduate Cathy Hurt encouraged those in the program to “be still, pray, and listen…ask for help and help will come” as she explained how SCDIP dramatically changed both her personal and professional life as a dance instructor. Hurt also challenged the graduates to “step up to the plate and show that we do recover.” As Judge Jackson announced the names of the graduates, each gave moving words of how the program had given them a new chance in life. Mr. Botticelli closed the program stating, “We all make mistakes…[but] we all should have an opportunity to recover to become a productive member of society.” He served as an incredible example of just how that can be done.
Among the attendees were: friends and families of the graduates and participants, Judge Robert Morin, Superior Court; Clifford Keenan, Director of Pretrial Services Agency for the District of Columbia (PSA); Nancy Ware, Director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency (CSOSA); staff from the Office of National Drug Control Policy; representatives from National Association of Drug Court Professionals, and staff from CSOSA and PSA.
DC Superior Court’s Crime Victims Compensation Program Receives Special Recognition on Capitol Hill.More information
On April 10, 2014 the DC Superior Court’s Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP) was recognized by the Congressional Victims’ Rights Caucus “for their work in the immediate response and aftermath of the Washington Navy Yard shooting on September 16, 2014.” The award was received by Laura Banks-Reed, CVCP Program Director, along with Donald Younger, and Carmella Gonzalez. “The work of the Victim Action Network (VAN), that we are part of with other agencies and non-profits, was so coordinated and seamless in response to the Navy Yard shooting that I felt a great sense of pride to belong to the victim services community,” stated Banks-Reed. The CVCP team joined with other organizations that fateful day in our Nation’s Capitol to help victims and their families cope with the travesty that occurred in their workplace.
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There’s a lot of news regarding Jury Duty in DC.More information
The latest news on Jury Duty in DC:
The DC Superior Court released a new juror orientation video this March which talks about the key role that jurors play in our justice system and how important it is that all those who are summoned serve jury duty. The video makes clear that while residents may initially feel like they don’t have time or that jury duty is a burden, ultimately it is an important aspect of our democracy. Participation in jury service is a way in which we all can participate in keeping our community safe, and holding one another accountable for our actions as fellow citizens. To bring the importance of our participation even closer to home, imagine if we, or one of our loved ones, was charged with a crime. Who would we want making the decision about guilt or innocence? No doubt, we would want a jury of dedicated, engaged, and conscientious members of our community who would carefully consider all of the evidence presented and render a just verdict. That is what jury duty is all about; and what makes our democracy a magnificent process worthy of protecting and participating in. To see the 20 minute video, click here.
The National Law Journal recently published an article entitled “ DC Makes Jurors Feel Appreciated” which found that DC Superior Court’s 80% juror utilization rate – the percentage of jurors that are sent to at least one courtroom to be considered for a jury – far exceeds the national average of 58% in comparable large cities. This means that DC Superior Court is taking more care to summon closer to the number of jurors needed, reducing the number of jurors who need to be summoned. In turn that means that residents will ultimately not have to be summoned so frequently. The article talked about all the steps that the DC Superior Court has taken in an effort to increase juror utilization, and to ensure that the court makes all reasonable efforts in summoning only the number of people it needs for trials. To read the entire article, click here.
The DC Courts want to caution area residents about fraudulent email being sent from email addresses ending in @jonesday.com and @hoganlovells.comMore information
Adoption Day 2013The DC Superior Court and the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) co-hosted the 27th Annual Adoption Day ceremony.Read the full article on Adoption Day
In an event designed to celebrate the joy of adoption, the DC Superior Court and the DC Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) co-hosted the 27th Annual Adoption Day ceremony on Saturday, November 23rd. 29 adoptions were finalized during a ceremony in which the new families were introduced and came forward as their judges signed the adoption decrees. The theme of this year's ceremony was "Promoting Healthy Children, Strong Families."
Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Mayor Vincent Gray, and CFSA Director, Brenda Donald, gave special remarks signifying the importance of adoption in the District as well as congratulating the new families created. The theme of this year’s ceremony was "Promoting Healthy Children, Strong Families."
NBC 4 news channel anchor Barbara Harrison acted as the Mistress of Ceremonies, introducing all the children along with their families while the adoption decrees were being signed by a judge. For more coverage of our Adoption Day, visit our DCCourtsChannel to view clips of the event.