St. Bernard Drug Court graduates congratulated by Sheriff Pohlmann and Judge Klees on getting this far but reminded they must keep working at sobrietyAug 5th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Community
New graduates of St. Bernard Drug Court – the program to help individuals who have been arrested because of crimes caused by dependence on drugs or alcohol – were congratulated by Sheriff James Pohlmann and Judge Robert Klees but reminded they must keep working at sobriety.
The sheriff and Judge Klees, retired chief judge of a state appeals court and now temporarily appointed as a district judge in St. Bernard, were the guest speakers on Monday, July 29, as five people graduated Drug Court in state District Judge Kirk Vaughn’s court.
Judge Vaughn said Drug Court, in operation for both adult and juvenile offenders in St. Bernard since before Hurricane Katrina, has proven to be effective in helping people with drug and alcohol problems.
“We have relapses and recidivism’’ in the program, said Judge Vaughn. “It’s not a perfect solution but it is the best we have come up with.’’
There were about 15 people who had been accepted into the Drug Court program before the graduation of the five.
Four young men and a woman had progressed through the program, maintaining sobriety, and were graduated in the ceremony, with family or friends present. All four men, who said they did not believe they could make it through, thanked the judge and professionals who worked with them. The woman was not able to be in court because she is pregnant and is due to have the baby shortly.
“Stay focused on sobriety and move on with your life,’’ Sheriff Pohlmann told the graduates. He said to also avoid people, places and situations that led them into drugs or uncontrolled drinking.
He said parents “must recognize the warning signs’’ that their children could be heading into trouble with drugs, including loss of interest in pursuits they used to have, such as academics, sports, dancing and other things, or associating with friends that parents do not know.
It’s sad when people make choices that close doors in their lives, such as using drugs or alcohol, leading to them getting arrested, said Judge Klees. But the Drug Court graduates are obviously getting back on track and “have put in a lot of effort’’ to become responsible members of society.
“Never close another door on yourself,’’ Judge Klees told the graduates.
The Drug Court graduates present were: Blake Chenevert, Christopher Havers, Scott Indovina and Courtney Miller. The fifth graduate was Ashley Estopinal.
Don Muller is administrator for St. Bernard’s Drug Court. Capt. Charles Buras is the probation officer.