Tulare County Superior Court is starting both a DUI court and a domestic violence court, making it among the first in the state to create the calendars.
The Judicial Council of California offered a $600,000 grant to launch the two courts, saying it’s a way to prevent recidivism.
“We are going to run this a lot like drug court,” Presiding Judge Gary Paden said.
Called “collaborative courts,” they follow the model of drug court in which the judge, probation department, prosecutor and public defender collaborate to turn people’s lives around.
Many drug court graduates stay drug free, and the expectation is that DUI and DV courts can produce similar results.
Only those charged with felonies are eligible, and defendants facing prison sentences are not eligible.
“It’s not a diversion or case dismissal,” said District Attorney Tim Ward. “It’s a heightened program for individuals who would otherwise be on felony probation.”
Paden said he’ll be the judge for the Visalia courthouse cases, and Judge Glade Roper will have the caseload in the South County courthouse in Porterville.
Defendants will wear an ankle monitor that detects alcohol and reports it electronically to the probation department. The device has a skin patch that detects consumption of any amount of alcohol.
Getting treatment for alcohol abuse and other issues also will be required.
Those who fail to stay clean and sober or attend treatment face jail or prison, Paden said.
“I’m going to hold them accountable,” he said.
RIDDICK RETIRES: Robert Riddick of Visalia will retire next month as executive director of the Central Valley Regional Center in Fresno after a 42-year career.
He started as a counselor. Regional centers serve developmentally disabled children and adults.
At a retirement party last week, California Secretary of Health and Human Service Diana Dooley presented him with official congratulations from Gov. Jerry Brown.
Riddick, 66, cannot rest, though. He’s serving as interim executive director of the Kern Regional Center until a permanent director is found.
LUCKY LAD: Zane Pollack of Visalia can drive to school in style. The Golden West High School junior won a free car from Groppetti Automotive and Momentum Broadcasting.
He was in a pool of 82 Visalia high school students who each had perfect attendance during the school year, making him eligible for the drawing for a 2015 Nissan Versa.
Counties with DUI courts
Counties with Domestic Violence courts
Source: Judicial Council of California