Print Version
Previous PageFile uploaded: 4/1/2013

Rule 4-409. Council approval of ProblemSolving Courts.


To establishcriteria for the creation and operation of problem solving courts, and tocreate a process for ongoing reporting from and evaluation of problem solvingcourts.


This ruleapplies to all trial courts.

Statement of theRule:


(1)(A)Applicant. As used in this rule, an applicant is the problem solving courtjudge, court executive, or other representative of the problem solving court asdesignated by the problem solving court judge.

(1)(B) Problemsolving court. As used in these rules, a problem solving court is a targetedcalendar of similar type cases that uses a collaborative approach involving thecourt, treatment providers, case management, frequent testing or monitoring andongoing judicial supervision. Examples include drug courts, mental healthcourts and domestic violence courts.

(2) Initialapplication. Prior to beginning operations, each proposed problem solving courtmust be approved by the Judicial Council and agree to comply with any publishedstandards. An application packet, approved by the Judicial Council, shall bemade available by the Administrative Office of the Courts. This packet must besubmitted to the Council for approval by the applicant at least 90 days inadvance of the proposed operation of a new court.

(3) Annualreport. Existing problem solving courts must annually submit a completed annualreport on a form provided by the Administrative Office of the Courts.

(4) Grants. Inaddition to complying with the requirements of CJA Rule3-411, an applicant shall notify the Judicial Council of any application forfunds to operate a problem solving court, whether or not the court would be thedirect recipient of the grant. This notification should be made before anyapplication for funding is initiated.

(5) Operationof the problem solving court. All problem solving courts must adhere to thefollowing requirements, unless specifically waived by the Judicial Council:

(5)(A)(i) In a criminal proceeding, a plea must be entered beforea person may participate in the court. Testing and orientation processes may beinitiated prior to the plea, but no sanctions may be imposed until the plea isentered other than those which may be imposed in a criminal proceeding in whicha person is released before trial. Prior to the acceptance of the plea, eachparticipant must sign an agreement that outlines the expectations of the courtand the responsibilities of the participant.

(5)(A)(ii) Injuvenile dependency drug court, sanctions may not be imposed until the parenthas signed an agreement that outlines the expectations of the court and theresponsibilities of the participant.

(5)(B)Eligibility criteria must be written, and must include an assessment processthat measures levels of addiction, criminality, and/or other appropriatecriteria as a part of determining eligibility.

(5)(C) Thefrequency of participation in judicial reviews will be based on the findings ofthe assessments. In rural areas, some allowance may be made for otherappearances or administrative reviews when the judge is unavailable. Otherwise,judicial reviews should be conducted by the same judge each time.

(5)(D)Compliance testing must be conducted pursuant to a written testing protocolthat ensures reliability of the test results.

(5)(E)Treatment must be provided by appropriately licensed or certified providers, asrequired by the Department of Human Services or other relevant licensure orcertification entity.

(5)(F) Eachproblem solving court must have written policies and procedures that ensureconfidentiality and security of participant information. These policies andprocedures must conform to applicable state and federal laws, including theGovernment Records and Access Management Act, HIPAA,and 42 CFR 2.

(5)(G) Any feesassessed by the court must be pursuant to a fee schedule, must be disclosed toeach participant and must be reasonably related to the costs of testing orother services.

(5)(H) Courtsmust conduct a staffing before each court session. At a minimum, the judge, arepresentative from treatment, prosecutor, defense attorney, and in dependencydrug court a guardian ad litem, must be present at each court staffing.

(5)(I) At aminimum, the judge, a representative from treatment, prosecutor, defenseattorney, and in dependency drug court a guardian ad litem, must be present ateach court session.

(5)(J) Eachcourt must be certified by the Judicial Council every two years. Certificationrequires all courts to meet the minimum requirements stated in this rule.

(6) Evaluationand Reporting Requirements. Each problem solving court shall annually report atleast the following:

(6)(A) Thenumber of participants admitted in the most recent year;

(6)(B) The numberof participants removed in the most recent year;

(6)(C) Thenumber of participants that graduated or completed the program in the mostrecent year; and

(6)(D)Recidivism and relapse statistics for as long a period of time as is available,but at least for one year. If the court has been in existence for less than oneyear, then for the amount of time the court has been in existence.

(7) DUI Courts.The following courts are approved as DUI Courts: Riverdale Justice Court andother courts as may be approved by the Judicial Council in the future.

(8)Communications. A judge may initiate, permit, or consider communications,including ex parte communications, made as part of a case assigned to the judgein a problem-solving court, consistent with the signed agreement.