In order to receive the certification, the local court has to submit an application, undergo a site visit, and provide specific program materials in response to certification standards that went into effect in January 2014.
Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justic Maureen O’Connor congratulated the Norwalk municipal court and Judge Eric R. Weisenburger for receiving final certification.
“Specialized dockets divert offenders toward criminal justice initiatives that employ tools and tailored services to treat and rehabilitate the offender so they can become productive members of society,” said Chief Justice O’Connor. “Studies have shown this approach works by reducing recidivism while saving tax dollars.”
Specialized dockets are courts that are dedicated to specific types of offenses or offenders and use a combination of different techniques for holding offenders accountable while also addressing underlying causes of their behavior. There are more than 210 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that deal with issues such as:
• Drugs and alcohol
• Mental health
• Domestic violence
• Human trafficking
The standards provide a minimum level of uniform practices for specialized dockets throughout Ohio, and allow local courts to innovate and tailor to meet their community’s needs and resources.
“We are pleased to receive the certification from the Ohio Supreme Court and will continue our work in addressing the drug problem,” said Judge Weisenburger.
The certification requirements include establishing eligibility requirements, evaluating effectiveness of the specialized docket, and assembling a treatment team for implementing daily operations of the specialized docket. The team can include licensed treatment providers, law enforcement, court personnel, and is headed by the specialized docket judge.
The Commission on Specialized Dockets has 22 members who advise the Supreme Court and its staff regarding the promotion of statewide rules and uniform standards concerning specialized dockets in Ohio courts; the development and delivery of specialized docket services to Ohio courts; and the creation of training programs for judges and court personnel. The commission makes all decisions regarding final certification.