By Tara Alvey
LOGAN – Applause isn’t something you’d normally expect to hear in a court of law, but during the 1st District Drug Court session held April 3, applause for defendants and inmates who are striving to remain clean and drug-free was a regular occurrence.
The drug court program began in 2000 as a joint effort of 1st District Court, Bear River Drug and Alcohol, Cache County Attorney’s Office, local law enforcement, and Adult Probation and Parole.
In order for a defendant to participate in drug court, the individual must be a drug addict with a felony drug charge. No drug dealers or those convicted of violent crimes are admitted to the program. Participants are required to submit to random urinalysis, meet two times a week with their drug counselor, attend AA or NA meetings every week, and work a full-time job.
In most cases if a participant successfully completes the Drug Court program, their guilty plea is withdrawn and all charges are dismissed from their record. In this way, the Drug Court program acts in the same way that a routine plea in abeyance does.
Trevor Hoover, a 26-year-old male, was arrested in December 2011 on suspicion of six counts of theft and six counts of forgery. After evaluation by Bear River Drug and Alcohol, Hoover was deemed an appropriate candidate for the drug court program. He entered the program on Feb. 7, and his charges were reduced to only three counts each of theft and forgery. Pending his graduation from the program, all of Hoover’s charges will be dismissed.
On April 3, Hoover appeared before Judge Thomas Willmore as part of the required, routine appearances before a judge that are part of the drug court program.
“Mr. Hoover, have you chosen a sponsor yet?” asked Judge Willmore.
“I have, his name is Keith and he’s a really nice guy,” replied Hoover. “He had some drug problems himself when he was young so he understands what I’m going through and I just feel really comfortable with him.
After Willmore verified that Hoover’s sponsor had been approved by a counselor, he asked the question that every defendant is asked at their drug court appearances: “How many days have you been clean Mr. Hoover?”
“Fifty days,” replied Hoover.
Hoover’s answer was met with applause from everyone in the courtroom – one of the only time clapping is ever allowed in a court of law.
The 1st District Drug Court meets every Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. with Judge Willmore.