Senate Bill No. 61

(Senator Foster, original sponsor)


[Passed March 4, 2011; in effect ninety days from passage.]


AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-5-2b; and to amend and reenact §62-15-4 of said code, all relating generally to juvenile drug courts; appointment of hearing officers for juvenile drug courts; and authorizing additional juvenile drug courts.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §49-5-2b; and that §62- 15-4 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

§49-5-2b. Juvenile drug courts.
Juvenile drug courts shall be designed and operated consistent with the developmental and rehabilitative needs of juveniles as defined in this article. The Supreme Court shall provide uniform referral, procedure and order forms that shall be used in juvenile drug courts. The Supreme Court is further authorized to appoint appropriate hearing officers in those jurisdictions which choose to operate a juvenile drug court. Hearing officers for juvenile drug courts shall be limited to current or senior status circuit court judges or family court judges.

§62-15-4. Court authorization and structure.
(a) Each judicial circuit or two or more adjoining judicial circuits may establish a drug court or regional drug court program under which drug offenders will be processed to address appropriately, the identified substance abuse problem as a condition of pretrial release, probation, incarceration, parole or other release from a correctional facility.
(b) The structure, method, and operation of each drug court program may differ and should be based upon the specific needs of and resources available to the judicial circuit or circuits where the drug court program is located.
(c) A drug court program may be preadjudication or post-adjudication for an adult offender.
(d) Participation in drug court, with the consent of the prosecution and the court, shall be pursuant to a written agreement.
(e) A drug court may grant reasonable incentives under the written agreement if it finds that the drug offender:
(1) Is performing satisfactorily in drug court;
(2) Is benefitting from education, treatment and rehabilitation;
(3) Has not engaged in criminal conduct; or
(4) Has not violated the terms and conditions of the agreement.
(f) A drug court may impose reasonable sanctions on the drug offender, including incarceration for the underlying offense or expulsion from the program, pursuant to the written agreement, if it finds that the drug offender:
(1) Is not performing satisfactorily in drug court;
(2) Is not benefitting from education, treatment or rehabilitation;
(3) Has engaged in conduct rendering him or her unsuitable for the program;
(4) Has otherwise violated the terms and conditions of the agreement; or
(5) Is for any reason unable to participate.
(g) Upon successful completion of drug court, a drug offender's case shall be disposed of by the judge in the manner prescribed by the agreement and by the applicable policies and procedures adopted by the drug court. This may include, but is not limited to, withholding criminal charges, dismissal of charges, probation, deferred sentencing, suspended sentencing, split sentencing, or a reduced period of incarceration.
(h) Drug court shall include the Ten Key Components and the drug court team shall act to ensure compliance with them.
(i) Nothing contained in this article confers a right or an expectation of a right to participate in a drug court nor does it obligate a drug court to accept every drug offender.
(j) Neither the establishment of a drug court nor anything herein may be construed as limiting the discretion of the jurisdiction's prosecutor to act on any criminal case which he or she deems advisable to prosecute.
(k) Each drug court judge may establish rules and may make special orders as necessary that do not conflict with rules and orders promulgated by the Supreme Court of Appeals which has administrative authority over the courts. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall provide uniform referral, procedure and order forms that shall be used in all drug courts in this state.