Your reading this week discussed the working dynamics of the personnel within the court system- specifically the cooperation of the prosecutor, defense attorney, judge, and other professionals that may be involved in a case when attempting to reach an agreement on the appropriate charge and sentence of a defendant.
Based on your understanding of the week’s reading, consider the following scenario:
Bob, a 22-year-old combat veteran, is on probation after having pled guilty to drug possession charges involving illegally obtained opiates and benzodiazepines. Bob attempted to go back to college after completing his last tour of duty, but has struggled in his coursework. He states that he feels isolated and under constant stress, and that he continues to have flashbacks of combat incidents. In a recent run-in with law enforcement, Bob is found to have oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Xanax in his possession.
You are the prosecutor reviewing Bob’s case. The probation officer has conducted an evaluation in conjunction with a mental health counselor, and is meeting with you and the public defender to determine whether Bob is suitable for drug court referral. You, the defense attorney, and judge have consulted with medical officials at the nearby Veterans Administration hospital, who has made a preliminary diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. While reviewing his military records, you find reports of Bob’s involvement in multiple brawls including one armed assault charge. This is normally a dis-qualifier for the drug court in your region, but the public defender’s explanation of Bob circumstances gives you pause. Do you decide to approve the referral to drug court or deny it?
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