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  1. #1
    Feeling helpless Guest

    Unhappy

    (In California)In 11/97, my husband was convicted of poss. of meth and given a 3 yr. suspended sentence and 3 years probation. Among his probation conditions were not to drink to excess, and not take any medications without a doctor's prescription. He quit doing meth, spent 90 days in a residential treatment program, and has stayed out of trouble since then. 1 1/2 yrs ago, our county started a "drug court" program and without any notification, included all probationer's with drug convictions. They change the rules on a regular basis, and any non-compliance means an immediate 7 day jail sentence with appeal or hearing. The 7 days apply whether you miss a 12-step meeting, or don't participate at all and continue using. In the last month, the probation office has now said he can have a violation for drinking a beer (that for the last almost 2 years was okay) have said that he can no longer take medication that is prescribed by his physician, and he is currently doing a 7 day violation for drinking excess water, altho' he has a prescription from his doctor that he needs to drink at least 8 glasses a day for medical reasons. My question is this: sholdn't he be able to request a hearing before they can violate his probation for following his doctor's orders? Also, shouldn't there be some notification in changes to his probation terms before they can give him a violation for breaking the new rules? This last violation cost him a job he was supposed to start that day, altho' they also threaten him for being unable to pay his fines etc. This is the third job he has lost directly due to drug court. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated, and sorry for how long this is.
  2. #2
    Tracey Guest

    Post

    You need to find a crusading defense attorney in your state who will challenge the complete lack of due process the drug courts are dispensing. Call the bar association or ask some criminal appellate attorneys. The attorney should also investigate whether the drug court can change the conditions of probation at all, & whether it can forbid probationers from taking prescription meds.

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    This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws.
  3. #3
    Feeling helpless Guest

    Post

    Thanks for the advice. We live in a very small rural county that has always thought it was a law into itself. His attorney has been pretty good in the past, but I think he is afraid of creating waves. I had already thought about going outside our area for assistance, but wasn't sure it was feasible, your answer gave me a little hope, so I will now look into it. The latest is the probation office seems to have lost his paperwork, so now his release date is in question. I recently wrote a letter to the editor of our local paper complaining about how the drug court is run, most of which doesn't even apply to his particular case just things I've observed while there, but I think it may be having a small part of what is now going on. Thanks again for your help.
  4. #4
    Tracey Guest

    Post

    Yep, go outside the county. You need to find your state's John Henry Brown & convince him/her to take the case. (Prominent Washington criminal appellate defense attorney) Good luck.

    ------------------
    This is not legal advice and you are not my client. Double check everything with your own attorney and your state's laws.
  5. #5
    dsut Guest

    Unhappy

    I fail to understand where the courts, ANY court in fact, can do anything because someone drinks water. Water is the life giving force all life forms need. And to prevent a person, regardless of who they are or what they have done, of accessing neccesary medication prescribed by a doc, is beyond cruel and unusual punishment. IF it has happened. Make sure you can document all of this you claim has happened, then contact the ACLU in your state. Personally, I doubt it has gotten as bad as you have claimed, but in this crazy world almost anything is possible I suppose.


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    I ain't a lawyer. I ain't a copper. I'm a true blue American that believes in Freedom for all. Provided they ain't criminals.
  6. #6
    Feeling helpless Guest

    Unhappy

    I don't doubt this is hard to believe that you can end up in jail for excess water drinking, wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't been there. My husband is not the only one in the local drug court to have gotten the standard week in jail for very strange violations. A couple examples: One guy was picked up here and sent 400 miles away for traffic warrants, he was released there, spent 3 days hitch-hiking back here, checked in with probation when he got back, gave them a clean test but still got 7 days because he didn't stop to go to AA meetings on the way, so was a few meetings short. Several have been violated for being 1 meeting short, even tho' they had tested clean for months. Another person got 7 days for not doing homework for their drug/alcohol counselor, had also tested clean and had gone to all meetings. I could give you a lot more examples, these are just a sample. I understand the violation for a legitimate dirty test, but question the motives for giving the same amount of time to those who are staying clean. Everyone in drug court is also forced to sign an agreement that even if they can prove a test was a false positive, it will still count as a dirty test with the same penalty. I have read the state guidelines for the drug court, and this county is NOT following most of them. I am currently working on a letter to the ACLU and anyone else I can think of to try to get things changed here. I really appreciate all the input I've received. Thanks!

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