Judicature Volume: 73 Issue: 6 Dated: (April-May 1990) Pages: 314-321
Panelists at the 1990 midyear meeting of the American Judicature Society examined the impact of drug-related cases on criminal courts.
Drug-related cases in the State criminal courts of 17 major cities have increased by over 50 percent in the past 4 years. At the Federal level, criminal case filings in the 1980's have grown by 56 percent and drug-related criminal cases by 229 percent. To deal with the influx of drug cases, some urban areas have established special drug courts to deal expeditiously with the increased number of cases. The basic notion of a drug court is that a special set of judges and courtrooms are dedicated to dealing exclusively with drug sale and possession cases. Drug cases place tremendous pressure on the civil docket and on the dockets of family/domestic relations courts in terms of resource allocation. In the last 20 years, traditional court roles with respect to family and juvenile law have been relegated to a low level due to drug-related cases. The trend with drug cases is a more active role for the judiciary, particularly with regard to drug treatment and reducing jail and prison overcrowding. Techniques for managing felony drug cases are outlined, along with possible sentencing alternatives for drug users, addicts, sellers, and predators. 3 figures.
United States of America
Edited version of a panel presentation at the midyear meeting of the American Judicature Society, Los Angeles, February 10, 1990.