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eighthjdcourt

Info about the Eighth Judicial District Court.

Tag Archives: Drug Court

 

A baby cries as Judge Carolyn Ellsworth begins the graduation ceremony for the March class of drug court graduates. The judge smiles and tells those gathered, “It’s great to have the babies here. It’s great that they’re here and come into the world drug-free.” After completing an intensive treatment program, the class of 13 drug court participants graduate to a productive new life. “I’m like your mom, only meaner,” jokes Judge Ellsworth, who presides over the drug court program with the mission to get those with substance abuse issues to stop revolving through the justice system.

Specialty courts use a therapeutic approach that targets and treats the root-causes of the addiction that fuels the crimes committed to feed the addiction. Not a graduation goes by that a graduate does say that the program saved their life. They praise the program but they know the road ahead will be filled with challenges. Judge Ellsworth tells her graduates, “I’m going to miss you. I really am.” She encourages them to keep her informed of their progress and asks them stop by. “I wish I could guarantee you that your lives after drug will be perfect after drug court,” said Judge Ellsworth. “But that would be a complete lie; life isn’t like that.” She reminds the grads that they’ve been given the tools to deal with adversity in a productive way. She encouraged them to stay on the path to a fulfilling life.

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The Eighth Judicial District Specialty Courts have been awarded a grant of $1million from the Substance Abuse Prevention Treatment Agency (SAPTA) to provide sober living and residential treatment placements for individuals in the Clark County Detention Center (CCDC). The SAPTA Grant provides funding for sober living facilities and residential bed infrastructure in Clark County to reduce the average number of days jailed drug court candidates spend waiting for residential placement. Drug court participants have significantly higher rates of success in programs that offer a continuum of care for substance abuse treatment with residential treatment and sober living. That success reduces the burdens on the jail, the justice system and the community as a whole.

In FY 2018, 111 participants were provided residential treatment and 189 were provided supportive sober living, with 162 participants obtaining employment.

In compliance with the National Association of Drug Court Professionals (NADCP) recommended adult drug court practices, individuals in need of substance abuse treatment should not be incarcerated to achieve clinical or social service objectives. Clark County has a growing need for sufficient sober living and residential placement facilities for inpatient substance abuse treatment. As a result, individuals remain in jail awaiting substance abuse treatment. The District Court estimates the annual fiscal savings that will result to Clark County at more than $4 million in averted incarceration and associated criminal justice costs.

“I am grateful to receive this grant money to provide sober living and residential treatment placements for specialty court participants,” said Chief Judge Linda Marie Bell. “This funding greatly improves the chances of success for those who are provided placements, reduces the critically overcrowded jail population, and saves millions of dollars in avoided incarceration costs.”

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement, court program coordinators and mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The National Association of Drug Court Professionals reports: “nationwide, 75 percent of drug court graduates remain arrest-free at least two years after leaving the program. Drug courts reduce crime as much as 35 percent more than other sentencing options.”

 

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District Court Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first adult drug court in Nevada, passed away Sept. 14 at the age of 89. Judge Lehman’s obituary is posted online and includes his significant accomplishments and very rich work history.  http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/rgj/obituary.aspx?page=lifestory&pid=186671056

According to his Obituary, “Jack died peacefully at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, CA, surrounded by his family. His legacy is one of survival and perseverance, labor and devotion, laughter and love, and a ceaseless desire to improve the lives of those around him. Contributions in Jack’s honor can be made to the Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund, to provide educational opportunities for graduates of the Las Vegas Juvenile Drug Court. Checks can be made payable to the California Community Foundation, specifying Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund in the memo, to 221 S. Figueroa St. Suite 400 Los Angeles, CA 90012.”

The Lehman Scholarship Fund has been set up by Steve Lehman and Jessica Lehman Hirsch to the honor their father, Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first drug court in Nevada in 1992. Scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Eighth Judicial District juvenile drug court program who demonstrate an interest in furthering their education as part of their path to a better life in recovery.

Judge Lehman lived a full and very productive life and he will truly be missed. Judge Jack Lehman January 27, 1928- September 14, 2017.

 

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Those who are sentenced to drug court are those who have been through a revolving door of drug abuse and resulting criminal activity. Many were formerly successful professionals who made a wrong turn somewhere. That is the case with one of the drug court’s current participants; but, what a difference a specialty court can make. A once very successful businessman who had it all, lost everything to his addiction to methamphetamine. He lost his income, his family, and his freedom. He became a familiar face in the criminal justice system. He was eventually sentenced by a District Court judge to drug court and that’s when things began to change. Enter Judge Carolyn Ellsworth, who presides over the drug court. She holds drug court participants accountable, yet manages to offer encouragement at the same time.

Those who are in the endless cycle of addiction and crime emerge to get on a path to recovery through rigorous treatment. The treatment is administered by the specialty court mental health/social service treatment professionals, and overseen by Judge Ellsworth in coordination with prosecutors, defense attorneys, and Parole and Probation.

In the case of the once prominent businessman, that is just what happened. He began to rebuild his life.  He became drug-free, got a job and worked to stabilize his life. He became involved in a healthy relationship. Then in early June, Judge Ellsworth married him to his new love. She baked one of her very special homemade cakes that she is known to bake for every drug court graduate. Family and friends came to support the man they love; the one they thought they had lost to addiction.

Not every story goes so well; and the new groom faces an ongoing struggle with recovery. But his outlook is bright, and the drug court team is there to help get him across the finish line. The rest is up to him.

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The first of the newly established Jack and Lulu Lehman scholarships has been awarded to help fund the education of an outstanding juvenile drug court graduate. The recipient was recently accepted to the College of Southern Nevada to study psychology. Each year, grants in the amount of $1,500 will be awarded to 10 qualified students who are graduates of the juvenile drug court program. The scholarships are intended to assist applicants with school tuition and educational fees during college, trade and/or vocational school attendance. Students who maintain a 2.5 GPA will have the opportunity to apply for a renewal of their grant each semester/term.

The Lehman Scholarship Fund has been set up by Steve Lehman and Jessica Lehman Hirsch to the honor their father, Judge Jack Lehman, who established the first drug court in Nevada in 1992. Scholarships will be awarded to graduates of the Eighth Judicial District juvenile drug court program who demonstrate an interest in furthering their education as part of their path to a better life in recovery. The Lehman Scholarship Committee members, including Nevada State Senator Michael Roberson, Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager, Jessica Lehman Hirsch, Steve Lehman, and a member of the California Community Foundation, made the award based on the youth’s demonstrated ability to overcome challenges in her life and willingness to obtain an education to enhance her opportunities in the future.

“Judge Jack Lehman was ahead of his time when he established the first adult drug court in Nevada. His legacy of investing in the hope and promise of recovery for people in this community will live on through these scholarships,” said District Court Chief Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez.

For those who would like more information on the Jack and Lulu Lehman Scholarship Fund, visit www.calfund.org or contact Marilu Guzman with the California Community Foundation at (213) 452-6260.

“By establishing the first drug court in our state, Judge Jack Lehman took an important step that has turned so many lives around,” said Presiding Family Court Judge Charles Hoskin. “This scholarship, which helps to educate young people who excel in drug court and want to better their lives, is a commendable way to honor the legacy of Judge Lehman.”

Under the direction of Judge William Voy, hearing master Margaret Pickard presides over the juvenile drug court.

“This scholarship offers reinforcement and a hand to the juvenile drug court participants who are getting their lives on the right track,” said Judge Voy. “It provides much needed educational funding, which greatly improves the odds for success for drug court participants.”

Nevada state Senator Michael Roberson and Clark County Commissioner Susan Brager will be joining Jessica Lehman Hirsch, Steve Lehman, and a staff member of the California Community Foundation, as members of the selection committee.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and mental health/social service/treatment professionals who work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens.

 

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Letteredited
“Life with an addicted mother is like looking down a dark tunnel.”

Being the child of an addict is the worst, but watching them grow and recover is the best. I am here to speak today because no parent truly understands what a child goes through. I had to grow up super-fast. You never know what you’re going to get with a parent who is an addict. It’s like walking on eggshells. It’s the worst feeling because it causes families to tear apart and creates so much chaos. Kids don’t know how to deal with it, and many like me keep quiet and just wonder why me? It’s a horrible, empty feeling to see everything crumbling down as a child because there is nothing you can do while your mom or dad is numbing the pain. You just sit there in silence wondering what it is like to have a normal life.

I have a little brother who I’m very attached to. I took on the role of watching him like a lot of other kids do. To this day, he is the reason I never gave up. My mom and I weren’t always close. When my mom started losing everything, I still stuck by her side for many reasons. I have believed and pushed hope one day she’d realize this isn’t what life is about. The constant moving and car rides is unfair to do to any child because it’s your choices not theirs. Looking down a dark tunnel is how to describe it in a way. It’s so hard to have no control over it.

One day, when it all came back around, my dad had taken me from my mom and my life changed in an instant. Although I wasn’t happy with my mom, I still loved her. It is so hard to not love the person who took you into this world. I will never forget the first time I saw her after. I had so many emotions and I was nervous. She was so happy to see me and looked like better in a sort. I was only allowed to see her once a week. No spending the night or any longer than a full day and I will admit at first I was over it. But slowly she gained my trust back and started to bond with me again. Once she got me to see my brother, it was the best. She had started changing because ¬¬she put me before seeing her son. She started proving to me that she was trying to mend the wall I had up. My dad was also very supportive of me and I’m glad he was there as well.

Now, I live with my mom and we’re basically the same person and are very close. I tell her everything, and love to get mani-pedi’s together or go out to eat. She has my trust 100 percent. How? It took a while, but in the end it was worth it. Never give up. There is always light at the end. My mom went from one day a week, to me living with her. After the many hardships and tears, it all worked out. There has to be rainy days to enjoy the good ones. Congrats on graduating Mom; I love you: and congrats to everyone else here today too. Mom, I’m so glad of how close we are, and how we’re the same person.

The young lady who wrote this letter inspired an entire specialty graduating class when she read it at a graduation. She hopes to go on to be a counselor and gave her permission to share it to inspire others.

Specialty courts solve issues through a rigorous and coordinated approach between judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Parole and Probation, law enforcement and the mental health/social service/treatment professionals. All work together to help participants recover, live crime-free and become productive citizens. The next specialty court graduation is scheduled for April 3 at 2 p.m. in the jury services room at the Regional Justice Center.

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Judge Linda Bell told graduates, "you inspire me."

Judge Linda Bell told graduates, “you inspire me.”

Two big screens projecting a mug shot served as the backdrop for 42 Eighth Judicial District specialty court graduates in Las Vegas as they celebrated their drug-free, crime–free life after an intensive treatment program. A packed room filled with friends, family, counselors and even the judges who sentenced the participants, looked on and applauded, as one-by-one the graduates faced friendly heckles on their mug shots, collected their certificates, thanked their judge and counselors and shared their emotional road to recovery. Standing before the audience, a nervous graduate named Armando said he was so excited that he couldn’t sleep the night before. Barbara, who was chosen to speak on behalf of the mental health court graduates, said that the program helped her to overcome a 35-year drug addiction. A DUI graduate named Jason just said that he was happy to have his family back. Many of the graduates brought prepared letters to read, including Marcus who said, “thank you to the program that saved my life.” He read a heart-wrenching letter that recounted his despair during his addiction and ended saying “I hope to make the world a better place.” One 20-year-old said that it was good he caught “it” when he was young because he didn’t think that he would make it to be old. The audience laughed, applauded and echoed the thought.
Judge Linda Marie Bell who presides over the specialty courts commended the graduates and said, “I know how hard you’ve worked and what you put into the program. You inspire me.”

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