Friday, April 29, 2016

NOTICE: Free Online Drug Court Training for Court Professionals

The National Association of Drug Court Professionals released a new online course titled “Educating Drug Courts on Medication Assisted Treatment.”

The free course is funded by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. It’s designed to give drug and other treatment courts the tools they need to ensure best practices related to medication assisted treatment. The course includes understanding what this treatment is, how it can be used, and its legal ramifications.

The online course is timely as courts across the country will be celebrating National Drug Court Month, which begins on May 1. According to the Association of Drug Court Professionals, there are more than 2,900 drug courts across the nation serving about 150,000 individuals each year.

These courts are crucial to criminal justice reform and are often the most effective strategy to reduce substance abuse, crime, and repeat offenses.

Our current opioid crisis highlights the need for access to new and creative types of treatment of drug addiction. Drug and other treatment courts must ensure every participant has access to the full range of evidence-based treatment when it is determined to be medically needed.


Thursday, April 7, 2016

Thinking of International Cooperation

Just this week, a judge and nine lawyers from Afghanistan were able to watch oral arguments in four cases heard by the Ohio Supreme Court in the Thomas J. Moyer Judicial Center. Afterward, the group spent time with Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor discussing the differences between the U.S. and Afghan court systems.

Both the Ohio Judicial College and National Judicial College have sponsored programs that allow judges from the United States to periodically receive judges and attorneys from other countries and sponsor them in training. Judges from Ukraine, Russia, Libya, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Armenia, and Serbia have toured the nation’s court system, including here in Ohio and have marveled at our Supreme Court building. 

Visits have varied and have included more than judges. For example, members of the China International Economic Trade and Arbitration Commission learned about dispute resolution during a visit to Ohio in 2007. A 2009 Korean delegation studied the administration and use of jury trials. The Serbian delegation in 2012 learned about asset forfeiture, and Franklin County judges presented a program on commercial dockets to a Turkmenistan group. 

Twice in 1995, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Russia and Ukraine after the breakup of the Soviet Union to teach programs designed to introduce the U.S. legal system and encourage judicial independence. Many students were fascinated to hear that people believed in the rule of law and that American judges had no armies to enforce their opinions. They were surprised that we didn’t have to call party bosses to decide how to rule in a particular case. They were also amazed that someone could actually sue the government. 

So many times we take our system of law for granted. During this primary season, when politics seems to expose the rawer nerves of democracy, it’s not a bad idea to remember that when we are viewed from other places, we appear to be very fortunate and that the sharing of ideas benefits all of us.