Second chance to offenders
Austin Goodin stood before Frederick County Circuit Court Judge Julie Stevenson Solt on a recent Thursday, as she read a verdict, indicative of the hardships he had endured in the previous four months.
He stood with his hands behind his back, his head cocked to the side, shifting from one foot to the other waiting for Solt to finish her decree. At its end, Solt descended from behind her bench and presented him with two options: A hug or a handshake.
Goodin accepted a hug from the judge, as she congratulated him on his promotion to the next stage of recovery in the Frederick County Drug Treatment Court program. He now has more freedom in his 15-month- journey to a clean life and clean record.
"Usually when we go before a judge, they're just handing us our time," said Goodin, 32, of his decision to hug Solt at the hearing. "She's trying to help us save our lives."