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Eagle County DUI and Drug courts celebrate fifth anniversary

Monday, December 8, 2014

EAGLE, Colo. – The Eagle County DUI and Drug courts will celebrate their fifth anniversary with a ceremony and reception in Courtroom 2 of the Eagle County Justice Center, 885 Chambers Avenue, in Eagle, at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10. The public is welcome to attend.

The courts’ first docket was called in October 2009 after Eagle County Judge Katharine Taylor Sullivan gathered several other professionals to form a problem-solving court to guide people in the criminal justice system struggling with substance abuse toward long-term recovery. That initial group included probation officer Karen Hoeger, now the problem-solving court coordinator for the 5th Judicial District (Clear Creek, Eagle, Lake and Summit counties); and Kenny Hamburg of Alpine Springs Counseling.

The treatment team since has grown to include representatives of the District Attorney’s office; Taggart Howard of the Causey & Howard Law Firm to represent defense counsel; the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office; and psychotherapist Marny Nedlin, Ph.D. The courts’ capacity also has grown, prompting the division in February 2013 into separate DUI and Drug courts.

Seventeen clients are enrolled in the courts at present. Of the 102 others enrolled since the courts’ inception, 74 successfully graduated, making for a 73 percent overall success rate. Once screened for eligibility, participants in the voluntary programs agree to actively engage in treatment and counseling and are intensively supervised to help ensure community safety while being allowed to work and to remain in the community.

“Our clients are looking to change their lives and come willingly into a program – which is by no means easy to complete – to benefit not only themselves, but also their families and the community,” Judge Sullivan said. “We know from more than two decades of experience across the country, problem-solving courts like ours reduce recidivism and substance abuse while helping reunite families and turn repeat offenders into productive and contributing members of society.”

For further information, please contact Problem Solving Court Coordinator Karen Hoeger at karen.hoeger@judicial.state.co.us or 719-452-5039.

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