“I was clean for nine months until this month, when I slipped up and drank some whiskey. I’ve been to jail four times. My drug of choice, it’s embarrassing to say, was cocaine. Finally, it hit me that if I could go without it in jail, I could go without it at home. “My resolution is not to go backwards at all next year.
I got caught using marijuana three years ago and have now been clean for seven months. For my New Year’s resolution, I want to lose 10 pounds, and stay sober, of course. To do that, I’m going to have to stay busy. I’m going to spend time practicing my cello, and keeping my grades up and spend time with my boyfriend, who is very supportive and a good influence. “Plus, my mom and I have a lot of fun together.
“I have a good head on my shoulders and for starters, I won’t do what I normally would do on New Years, which is smoke weed. I want to go to college and I have my mind set on that now. I am the captain of my hockey team and pretty much always have been. I like to be a leader instead of having a lot of people looking over me. I’m not crazy about being under people’s rule, so even this (drug court) is a big deal for me.
“I started smoking marijuana two years ago. I was skipping a lot of school, hanging with the wrong crowd, living the wrong life. This coming year, I just want to be clean and able to relax and do my best in school so I can start preparing for college. I’m a grade behind where I should be and I’m trying to make that up now. “There were some wasted years, for sure.
“I see 2012 as a chance to keep my grades up, think clearly and level headed and stay sober. I was 14 when I started drinking and 15 when I started smoking weed. The probation I’m on actually is a big help in keeping me sober, but my parents have really wised up to what I was up to and are paying close attention. Plus, I’ve got a new baby brother (born around Thanksgiving). When I see him, I just think what I was doing is not worth it.
Erin Dale, a probation officer in Cobb County, Georgia’s juvenile drug court, has never come across a kid who started using marijuna as young as Zach Dykes. “Seven years old,” Dale said. “Pre-teen, like 11 or 12, is the earliest I’d seen before Zach.”
Zach, 17, is currently in the Cobb County, Ga. Juvenile drug court program. Up until this April, the Hillgrove High School senior had smoked marijuana on and off – mostly on – since he was 7.
Embattled Georgia Superior Court Judge Amanda Williams is facing new charges of favoritism. Williams formerly oversaw the state’s largest drug court. On Monday, the state Judicial Qualifications Commission filed charges accusing the judge for allowing a man charged with cruelty to children and battery to improperly enter the drug court program despite not being charged with any drug-related offenses, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The defendant is the nephew of Brunswick, Ga., attorney Jim Bishop who Williams, according to court documents, said has “been there for me for years and years.” Williams is quoted in court documents as saying Bishop’s nephew, Henry Bishop III, would lose his state insurance license if he was not diverted into the drug court program. In November, Williams was charged by the Judicial Qualifications Commission with a dozen ethics violations relating to her time as head of the Glynn County, Ga., drug court program.
Longtime Georgia Juvenile Court Judge Peggy H. Walker was elected to the Executive Committee of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) earlier this week at their 74th national conference in New York City. Spanning the next five years, Judge Walker will serve as NCJFCJ secretary, treasurer, president-elect, president and immediate past-president, respectively.
Founded in 1937, the Reno-based NCJFCJ is the nation’s longest running judicial membership committee with a roster of nearly 2,000 judges and related professionals. The council aims to provide judges, courts and related agencies with the necessary knowledge and skills to improve the lives of families and children affected by the juvenile justice system and domestic violence. “The common thread among the NCJFCJ leadership is hard work and the courage to overcome adversity as we work to improve the lives of children and families,” said the newly elected Judge Walker.
Just joining us? This is part five of a five part series. Start from the beginning. Cobb County, Ga’s., Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman’s office overflows every Wednesday at 4 p.m. For an hour, with therapists and probation officers filling every chair and – with several sitting on the floor – Stedman and her juvenile drug court team do a rundown of every kid currently in the program. One by one, Stedman calls out the name of each of 30 or so kids.
Just joining us? This is part two of a five part series. Start from the beginning. Juvenile Court Judge Juanita Stedman, who presides over Cobb County, Georgia’s Juvenile Drug Court has gotten to know Kyle quite well the past three years. Yes, he was one of the most dangerously addicted kids she’s seen.