Established in 1995, the Hawaii Drug Court program was created to provide options outside of the criminal justice system to first-time, non-violent drug offenders. While the program has successfully helped many drug offenders, it did not address the special needs of youthful offenders. In an effort to provide a greater chance for errant children to move toward bright futures, the Juvenile Drug Courts (JDC), established in 2001, address many concerns, including:
Both state and federal judges use sentencing guidelines to help determine the length of incarceration and the amount of fines to impose on convicted offenders. However, judicial discretion also comes into play and specific laws can also alter the guidelines used to determine sentences.
How does this affect the rights of the mentally incompetent?
In January of this year, the United States Supreme Court ruled, in effect, that even if a Death Row inmate is found to be so mentally incompetent as to be unable to contribute to his or her appeals of the sentence, it is no grounds for an automatic stay of execution. This surprisingly unanimous decision calls into question how our justice system treats the mentally incapacitated, particularly when their lives are literally on the line.
What drives cops to lie under oath?
Police officers swear to protect the public and uphold the law. It stands to reason that these vows should hold true in the courtroom as well as on the street. Unfortunately, that is not always the case, particularly when police officers take it upon themselves to decide who is guilty before a judge and jury can decide.