Drug Court "Ho‘omaka Ola Hou” (“rebuilding lives")
Excerpt: At first glance, it may have looked like a typical trial-by-jury scene in Courtroom 2 of the Maui County Courthouse on Thursday, July 23. With a rap of his gavel, the presiding judge, in his traditional black robe, called court to session as the prosecuting attorney and public defender prepared for the day’s proceedings.
But on this particular afternoon, the judicial proceedings were cause for celebration, as one by one, 11 men adorned in garlands of fragrant lei stood before Second Circuit Court Judge Shackley F. Raffetto, who pronounced the charges filed against them had been dropped.
While each had once appeared before a judge—perhaps in the very same courtroom—as a criminal defendant, they were honored that afternoon as members of the 27th graduating class of the Maui/Moloka‘i Drug Court Program (MDCP). MDCP is an intensive, 40- to 60-week treatment program for non-violent, Class “B” or “C” felony offenders whose criminal actions resulted from their alcohol and/or drug abuse. And for those who witnessed the beaming smiles that illuminated Courtroom 2 that day, it is safe to say that the program is making a profound impact.