Bennett H. Brummer Recognizes Retiring Drug Court Judge

Miami-Dade Public Defender Bennett H. Brummer presented retiring Circuit Judge Stanley Goldstein with a certificate of appreciation last month to honor his work in the nation’s first drug court. Judge Goldstein started what has become a national movement to assist thousands of drug addicts move from criminal activity to productive, law-abiding, drug-free lives.

"The success we enjoyed in drug court was largely due to Stanley Goldstein," Brummer said at a Dec. 18 retirement luncheon for the judge. "We are awarding him this certificate to recognize his compassion, dedication and tireless efforts to save the lives of countless drug court clients."

In a Nov. 24 letter, President Bill Clinton congratulated Judge Goldstein on his retirement and the outstanding job he did in drug court: "Your dedication to the public is an inspiration to others…I thank you for a job well done."

"My role in this whole deal was a cheerleader," Judge Goldstein said. "The credit I share 100% with all who worked in here."

In 1989, Chief Judge Gerald Wetherington, Judge Herbert Klein, then State Attorney Janet Reno and Public Defender Bennett Brummer, created the drug court in response to the crack cocaine epidemic that was plaguing our community. Nonviolent offenders who had been arrested for possessing or purchasing drugs were diverted into drug court to receive intensive court supervision, frequent drug testing and counseling, and vocational training, for at least one year. Until now, Judge Goldstein was the only judge to preside in the drug court.

Judge Goldstein took a strong interest in the people from all walks of life who appeared in his courtroom. He viewed drug addiction as a disease and gave recovering addicts every opportunity to succeed with their treatment.

However, if the judge felt faltering clients were capable of, but were not fully committed to recovery, he would send them to jail for up to two weeks to motivate them to try harder. Judge Goldstein always gave his clients "a couple of shots to straighten out."

Some 14,000 clients have appeared before Judge Goldstein. Of that number, approximately 5,000 graduated from the program. Recent studies show that more than 90% of them are arrest free for at least one year after graduation, and approximately 75% remain arrest free for five years.

As Miami-Dade’s own drug court czar, Judge Goldstein has received worldwide acclaim for his efforts, traveling throughout the United States and Europe helping to set up drug courts. There are 328 drug courts in the United States and abroad and another 200 are in the planning stage.

The Public Defender’s Office has championed drug court since its inception. Not only does drug court save lives, Brummer pointed out, but it saves taxpayers money. It costs $26,000 a year to jail an offender, while drug court treatment costs only $2,300 a year for each client.

 

 

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Law Offices of the Public Defender
Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida
1320 NW 14th St., Miami, FL 33125
Phone: 305.545.1600

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