Family Treatment Court Holds 14th GraduationMore information
On Friday, April 29, 2016, the Family Court hosted the Fourteenth Family Treatment Court graduation. Five women graduated to lives without drugs and alcohol and with their children at their sides, after a rigorous year-plus of treatment, programming, and therapy to help identify the challenges to their sobriety.
After the processional of graduates into the room, Chief Judge Satterfield spoke, congratulating the graduates and saying that despite scheduling conflicts, he was there to support them and to support Magistrate Judge Gray. Judge Puig-Lugo then spoke, also congratulating the graduates, but reminding them that while this was a conclusion, it was also a beginning. And he made sure they knew that the Family Treatment Court family would be with them always. Ms. Jocelyn Gainers, Director of the Family Recovery Program, read an inspirational poem, and then Judge Gray introduced Carson Fox, CEO of the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Fox kept his remarks brief because, he said, the day was not about him but about the graduates. He told them that in searching for a word that would sum-up the day, what he came up with was 'Inspiration,' saying that the graduates were an inspiration to him, as he knew they were to others following in their footsteps in the program to their families and tyo all of us in attendance. He reminded them all that they were extraordinary people. Marquitta Duverney, Director of DC's Addiction Prevention and Recovery Administration (APRA), told the graduates that they each had light inside them, that they were in charge of it and not to let anyone take it away from them. Marie Morilus-Black, Deputy Director of the DC Child and Family Services Agency's Office of Well-Being, acknowledged the rough road the women had travelled, but said she was confident that they could become women their children would look up to. And like Judge Puig-Lugo, she reminded the women that the support team that is the Family Treatment Court is "not going anywhere" and told them that "you've found your village." David Cook from Court Appointed Special Advocates spoke briefly and congratulated the graduates. Songstress Corisa Myers then performed What about the Children? a song that included the lyrics "And if not for those who loved us and who cared enough to show us, Where would we be today?"
Magistrate Judge Gray then spoke to the graduates, telling them that they were fabulous women, courageous women and reassuring them of her confidence in their ability to succeed. Family Treatment Court Coordinator Dr. Sariah Beatty then called the graduates up to the podium one by one to receive their certificate. Dr. Beatty spoke about the progress they'd made, the obstacles they’d overcome and the unique contributions each had made. The graduates were thrilled with their certificates, their awards and the bag of gifts that each were given. The ceremony was closed with another musical selection from Corisa Myers (the most appropriate 'You are the Wind Beneath My Wings') and then Dr. Beatty's final thoughts and reflections.
The DC Superior Court sadly announces the passing of former Chief Judge Fred B. Ugast on April 6, 2016.More information
Large International Delegation Visits DC Superior Court’s Drug Court ProgramMore information
2015 Ollie May Cooper Award Given to DC Court of Appeals Chief Judge Eric WashingtonMore information
On October 22, 2015, Chief Judge Eric T. Washington of the DC Court of Appeals was given the Ollie May Cooper Award, which is presented annually to a member of the Washington Bar Association who has given outstanding service to the bar or whose leadership and organizational efforts have enhanced the image of the Washington Bar Association.
The award is named in honor of Ollie May Cooper who graduated from the Howard University School of Law, magna com laude with an L.L.B. in 1921 and who, along with Isadore Letcher, were the first African-American women in the United States to form a law partnership owned and operated by women. Over the years, Ms. Cooper served in various capacities at the Howard University Law School including teaching a course, serving as the law school’s law clerk, and serving as the secretary to at least 10 of the deans. She was the founder of the Epsilon Sigma Iota Legal Sorority and touched the lives of countless students and lawyers during her 43 year association with her alma mater. (Source: Washingtonbar.org)
November 21 – DC's 29th Annual Adoption Day CelebrationMore information
White House Drug Policy Director Keynotes August Drug Court GraduationMore information
On Wednesday, August 19, 2015 DC Superior Court's Drug Court held its monthly progression and graduation ceremony. The ceremony was co-hosted by the Pretrial Services Agency (PSA), which provides the treatment and case management for the program. In attendance were a number of other partner agencies, including the DC US Attorney's Office, the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, the DC Public Defender Service, the DC Office of the Attorney General, among others. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee Satterfield and Clerk of Court James McGinley joined numerous friends and family members of the graduates in celebrating the accomplishments of not just the six who were graduating, but the numerous others who were progressing from one phase of the program to another.
The ceremony began with the graduates' processional during which they received a standing ovation. PSA Case Manager Tarinna Terrell welcomed the audience and asked Drug Court participant Tonya Boles to come forward to offer words of encouragement, which were very well-received. Case Manager Mike Vaughn then introduced the guest speaker, author and advocate Janice Ferebee, who provided warm and encouraging comments to the graduates. As one who has 25 years in recovery, Ms. Ferebee recounted her own descent into drug use and how she went from being a straight A student, to an addict involved with a South American drug cartel. During a journey through her addiction disease, Ferebee said it was her mother who was her strongest step in making a change in her life. She urged the graduates to "allow family to be a part of the success story that is your life." She closed by reminding them that "The people that matter won't judge you, and the people that judge you won't matter"The graduation continued with PSA Director Cliff Keenan recognizing the Drug Court partners, and introducing Michael Botticelli, Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy as the graduation's keynote speaker. Director Botticelli highlighted how joyous drug court graduations are, noting "If you're ever having a bad day, find a drug court graduation." Director Botticelli, in recovery for over 25 years, gave the graduates the secrets to his own success story, going from a man standing before a judge 27 years ago, making what he said was the first smart decision he had made in several years by opting for treatment, to becoming the Obama Administration's director of drug policy. He noted that recovery is not an easy task, "[it] does not promise you a straight and happy life, but it does promise you a real life." He told graduates that he was "so very proud of each and every one" of them.
Following Director Botticelli's remarks, those who were progressing from one phase of the program to another were called up and given a certificate and a small token of recognition. Then Judge Gregory Jackson, Presiding Judge of the Drug Court, and Director Botticelli greeted each graduate in the well of the courtroom as they were called up to received their certificates. Each graduate spoke briefly, sharing his or her appreciation for the program and the support of their family and friends.
Before closing the ceremony, Judge Jackson asked those in the audience to share their thoughts and words of encouragement. He then offered his own words of encouragement to the graduates and spoke of how much of an effort they had put in, how resolute they had been, and how proud he was of them. Judge Jackson ended with a reminder that today really "wasn't an ending point, but the first day of the rest of their lives."