Friday News Roundup: September 28, 2018

Friday News Roundup

The FBI finds a slight decrease in violent crime across the U.S., Michigan sets an example as the state awards nearly $1.2M in grants to veterans treatment courts, and Nevada is spotlighted for its lack of public defenders. All of these stories and more in this week’s news roundup. 

Criminal Justice News

Kavanaugh denies allegations in prepared testimony – Brett Kavanaugh will “categorically and unequivocally” deny sexual assault allegations that have threatened to derail his Supreme Court nomination when he appears before the Judiciary Committee on Thursday. (The Hill, D.C., September 26, 2018).

Violent Crime in the U.S. Decreased Slightly in 2017, F.B.I. Finds – Violent crime in the United States decreased slightly in 2017, after a troubling rise the previous two years that became a major talking point in the presidential election. F.B.I. statistics released this week showed that the rate of overall violent crime decreased by 0.9 percent, and the murder rate decreased by 1.4 percent. The rate of property crimes also declined, by 3.6 percent. (The New York Times, USA, September 25, 2018)

Drug Treatment Courts

Former addict finds new future in Scott County Treatment Court – Part of this transformation is due to her time in and graduation from the Scott County Treatment Court. Laura, who graduated on July 30, was one of the first two graduates of the court. There have been two more graduations since. (Prior Lake American, MN, September 22, 2018).

In brief – CASSOPOLIS — Cass and Berrien counties’ problem-solving/treatment courts have been awarded $678,000 in one-year grants from the State Court Administrative Office, Cass Chief Judge Susan Dobrich announced. (The Herald-Palladium, MI, September 23, 2018).

‘He could have been dead the next day.’ Amid the opioid crisis, where are the gaps in care?  – Officials with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services hope to create a statewide voluntary certification process so that certified homes can be listed on the agency’s website. That way, community services boards, drug courts and families can refer people to homes that meet the established standards. (The Breeze JMU, VA, September 23, 2018).

Lawrence County drug court is certified – IRONTON — A drug court started earlier this year in Lawrence County has been certified by the Ohio Supreme Court, said Common Pleas Judge Andy Ballard.The drug court includes community members and local treatment providers, Ballard said. The drug court meets on the first and third Thursday of the month. There currently are 10 people seeking guidance from the drug court and one more application is pending, he said. (Herald Dispatch, OH, September 25, 2018).

Juvenile Justice

Riverside court order would restrict juveniles’ visits with attorneys – A judge in Riverside County is proposing to bar youth in juvenile delinquency proceedings from meeting face-to-face with their attorneys at courthouses, raising objections from attorneys who represent those youth. (Lost Angeles Times, CA, September 22, 2018).

CA prosecutors ask Gov. Brown to veto two prison reform bills – More than two-thirds of California’s top county prosecutors are asking Gov. Jerry Brown to veto bills on his desk that have been cheered by prison reform advocates. One bill would bar 14- and 15-year-olds from being prosecuted as adults, while the other would narrow the scope of California’s felony murder rule, which holds murder accomplices just as accountable as those who committed the killing. (The San Francisco Chronicle, CA,  September 21, 2018).

Study: Juvenile justice in Arizona suffers from uneven legal representation, high feesThe right of Arizona children to an attorney in delinquency cases is unevenly carried out and hindered by fees and assessments, a national study released Tuesday shows. (AZ Central of USA Today, AZ, September 25, 2018).

Public Defense

State will chip in on St. Lawrence County’s indigent defense costs – CANTON — St. Lawrence County will receive $5.3 million over the next five years to aid with indigent defense, marking a success for the county officials who urged the state to pay up. The county’s operation committee has agreed to accept the funding, but the full board of legislatures will need to approve it at the Oct. 1 meeting before the deal is finalized. (NCNow News, NY, September 22, 2018).

Longtime San Diego defense lawyer to become Lost Angeles County public defender – Attorney Ricardo Garcia, who has been involved in several high-profile cases in San Diego including the 15-month trial mentioned above, is headed for his next big challenge: leading the Los Angeles County Public Defender’s Office. Garcia, 49, wrapped up his tenure here last week and is preparing to take the helm of the oldest and largest public defender’s office in the nation. The San Diego Union Tribune, CA, September 23, 2018).

Ottawa County to get $2.8M public defender office – OTTAWA COUNTY — Starting next month, Ottawa County staff will begin the process of creating a $2.8 million public defender office, as mandated by the Michigan Indigent Defense Commission. The mandated change will completely restructure how people too poor to pay for their own lawyers will be represented in court. (Holland Sentinel, MI, September 23, 2018).

Study: Nevada’s 15 rural counties are struggling to provide public defenders – Nevada’s rural counties are struggling to provide constitutional legal defense for people who cannot afford to pay for an attorney, according to a new state-commissioned study. An August report from the nonpartisan Sixth Amendment Center is the latest in a series of studies that have found critical problems with Nevada’s system for providing a constitutional defense for people who cannot afford lawyers.

(Reno Gazette Journal, NV, September 25, 2018).

Veterans Treatment Courts

Michigan Supreme Court awards nearly $1.2M in grants to veterans treatment courts – LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) – The Michigan Supreme Court announced Monday that $1.17 million in grants has been awarded to 24 courts statewide to fund the operation of veterans treatment court (VTC) programs during the next fiscal year. (NBC TV 6/FOX UP, MI, September 24, 2018).

Livingston Veterans Treatment Court gets $50,000 grant, will add coordinator –  Veterans courts work with veterans who have been charged with crimes in a specialized court docket that gives a greater focus on the decision-making of veterans. As a participant in the program the veteran participates in a judicially-supervised treatment plan developed with a team of court staff, health care professionals, peer mentors, and mental health professionals. (Livingston Daily, MI, September 24, 2018).