Friday, November 19, 2004

Federal drug courts: Well intentioned but a bad idea

Federal 8th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Don Lay pleads in the New York Times for Congress to establish drug courts.

He's right to be concerned that federal prisons are filling up with non-violent offenders, but
Grits thinks he does not go far enough, and his proposal has significant workability issues. If Congress established drug courts, federal judges would then be responsible for supervising the probation success or failure of many thousands of individual defendants. Given immense federal judicial caseloads and the current backlog of judicial confirmations, creating federal drug courts would all but shut down the system.

There's a better way. States are already implementing drug courts, Lay points out. "Today, nearly every state has a 'drug court' to deal with nonviolent drug offenders through a mix of treatment and sanctions," he wrote, "all as part of an effort to reduce recidivism, substance abuse and costs. Statistics show that drug courts are a success." So why not use them? Drug cases that don't involve interstate transport should be routinely removed from federal to state courts. You remember, that whole
10th Amendment thing?

Where are the less-government conservatives when you need them?


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I believe that it'll be a good idea if you see countries which allow drugs are the ones that have the lowest level of addition it'll be the best way to avoid drug dealers.