Due Process Challenge Against Problem-Solving Courts Fails
Much to the chagrin of Public Defender Nancy S. Forster, the state’s highest court has unanimously affirmed the fundamental jurisdiction of the state’s “problem-solving” courts, which emphasize treatment over punishment.
The Court of Appeals rejected arguments that the Baltimore City Felony Diversion Initiative drug treatment court violated the constitutional rights of repeat drug-dealing offender Robert Calvin Brown III.
Forster claimed that the specialty court, one of a handful statewide, excludes criminal defendants from a critical stage of the proceedings and violates the separation of powers doctrine.
“There is no due process in these courts, in my opinion,” she said on Wednesday. “You don’t get notice, you don’t get to call witnesses, you don’t get to cross-examine witnesses. There’s none of that.”
But the seven-judge panel said her challenge “overlooks the critical distinction between (1) lack of jurisdiction, and (2) improper exercise of jurisdiction.”