Here is a statement provided by the three:
“The judges of the Huron County Common Pleas Court, general and juvenile divisions and the Norwalk Municipal Court ask voters to vote no on Issue 1.
“Each of our courts encourage and support treatment and counseling to help defendants overcome substance abuse. All three courts have developed specialized programs to assist those with drug addiction issues, which include use of our local treatment providers, probation services, transportation and direct involvement of the judges in supervision through drug court and review hearings.
“Our experience has shown that many good people can get caught up in drug use. Unfortunately, most of these folks will not make a sincere effort to get help without the threat of prison or jail hanging over their heads.
“While jails and prisons may not be ideal facilities for substance abuse rehabilitation, sometimes they are the only places where these individuals can be safely placed to protect both themselves and society as a whole. Our courts use many treatment alternatives to jail and prison, including community based corrections facilities, halfway houses, a wide variety of residential treatments or sober living facilities and Teen Challenge.
“We incorporate our own drug treatment programs with those of our local treatment providers, local church support groups, the Peer Recovery Center and local AA and NA groups. Often times, the driving force to getting individuals into and fully participating in these programs is court intervention with the threat of jail or prison.
“There are many other flaws in Issue 1. Voters need to be aware that as a Constitution Amendment, it will tie the government’s hands in the future as new and different drug crises arise. It will make Ohio attractive to drug traffickers outside of Ohio. It will result in a large increase in drugs on the street, which can be expected to significantly increase other crimes such as burglary, theft, and breaking and entering. Issue 1 would also release as many as 10,000 felons immediately onto our streets.
“As judges, we will continue to be active and innovative in our approach to resolving substance abuse issues. Passage of Issue 1 would make those efforts much more difficult. Please help us and local law enforcement keep your community safe by voting no on Issue 1.”
Thank you for your support.
Judge James W. Conway, Huron County Common Pleas Court, General Division
Judge Timothy Cardwell, Huron County Common Pleas Court, Juvenile Division
Judge Eric Weisenburger, Norwalk Municipal Court