As I sat in Judge Molea’s courtroom this morning, I heard something I had never heard in court before.
The happy noise was for a few young men who are in a drug-treatment program called DTAP-Road to Recovery. They were in court today so the judge could make sure they were all clean and sober and following the rules to remain in the program.
“You’ve been drug-free for five weeks,” Molea said, handing one of the young man a paper certificate. “Congratulations.” And the whole courtroom applauded.
Next case. “You’ve been drug free for 43 weeks. Congratulations.” Bigger applause.
I never saw that many people smiling in a courtroom at once. I was one of them, but not for the exact same reason. It’s not that I wasn’t happy to see these guys getting their lives back together, but to watch a black-robed state Supreme Court justice lead a round of applause for them just surprised me.
Outside in the hallway, I was stopped by defense lawyer Barry Warhit, who was apparently as bemused with the bravos as I was. He pondered how differently his job would be if all of his cases got the Road to Recovery treatment:
“Yes, your honor, my client was in prison, but he completed his parole!” *Applause*
Seriously, though, I hope all the guys in this program make it through.