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September 20, 2007

New Jersey Supreme Court expands drug court availability

As detailed in this local article, the New Jersey Supreme Court "on Wednesday expanded access to drug courts, ruling that even nonviolent addicts with prior convictions can avoid prison by entering drug treatment programs."  Here are more details:

The 6-0 decision broadened the definition of who may enter drug courts from the more strict parameter of only those drug-addicted defendants with no previous convictions and who are bound for jail time....

Justice Barry Albin wrote in the decision, "It is inconceivable that the Legislature granted a trial court power to impose a probationary sentence, but not the power to attach the one condition necessary to address the offender's desperate needs — a drug-rehabilitation program." Albin noted an earlier court decision that said, "A court should strive to avoid statutory interpretations that lead to absurd or unreasonable results." Albin concluded, "The trial court was vested with the discretion to admit defendant into drug court."

The interesting unanimous opinion in State v. Meyer (NJ Sept. 19, 2007) is available at this link.

September 20, 2007 at 01:22 PM | Permalink


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