Pubdate: Wed,  4 Jul 2001
Source: Nevada Appeal (NV)
Copyright: 2001 Nevada Appeal
Author: Amanda Hammon, Appeal Staff Writer
Bookmark: (Drug Courts)
Bookmark: (Treatment)


An increase in filing fees for Carson City District Court lawsuits would
help support the cost of a new regional drug court, a judge says. 

District Judge Michael Griffin is asking Carson City supervisors to
approve an extra $10 charge on civil cases. A separate, $5 fee also
would be levied on the same cases to help raise money for court-mandated
divorce mediation.

Fees on most civil cases now range from $115 to $145. 

The Legislature granted $150,000 a year for two years to a coalition of
five Western Nevada counties to start a drug court, expected to begin
operation in September. However, the state funds fall short of the
$260,000 needed to treat 125 offenders a year. 

Griffin said he expects the Carson City filing fee increase to raise
about $13,000 for the court's costs. Filing fees, raising about
$40,0000, will be proposed in Douglas, Churchill and Lyon counties as
well. Storey County is covered by Carson City's District Court. 

"The state will want us to show we're supporting it in some fashion,"
Griffin said. "In most of our criminal cases, and some civil, drugs are
a major problem. We have to do something to have people address their
drug problems." 

Judge Archie Blake, of Judicial District 3 in Churchill and Lyon
counties, said drug offenders volunteer for a year of close monitoring
by the court and treatment for their addictions. 

"We keep seeing the same people coming back, keep revoking probations,
keep putting them in prison," Blake said. "All legitimate studies have
shown the only way that a person can beat the drug rap is to no longer
take drugs. Other avenues don't have coerced treatment." 

Drug courts hold a "big hammer" over the heads of drug offenders, Blake
said. They can either agree to a felony conviction and prison time, or
they can enroll in the drug court program. The program includes a year
of successful treatment and work to help pay treatment costs. Repeated
testing for drugs will keep people honest, he said. 

"You always hear that people have to want to do it to be successful,"
Blake said. "If you're forcing them, the fact they're in treatment for a
substantial amount of time, the results will be the same. If they do it
long enough, then they'll want to stay clean." 

Blake said in the five participating counties, there is about an 80
percent chance a person with drug problems will return to the criminal
system. Offenders participating in the successful Washoe and Clark
county drug courts have about a 12 percent chance of being arrested on
drug charges again, Blake said. 

Blake will operate the court for the five counties, which are
cooperating under an agreement similar to that which created the Western
Nevada Regional Youth Center in Silver Springs. Blake will travel from
court to court in each county, hearing cases referred from his fellow
district judges. 

If you go: 

What: Carson City Board of Supervisors meeting 

When: 8:30 a.m., Thursday 

Where: the Community Center's Sierra Room, 851 E. William St.
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