Judge Takes Drug Court Lessons to Romania

By Kunz, Tona | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 22, 2005 | Go to article overview

Judge Takes Drug Court Lessons to Romania


Kunz, Tona, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Tona Kunz Daily Herald Staff Writer

A Kane County judge under scrutiny for how he ran his own drug court is offering tips on how Romania can start a national version of the treatment-based alternative to prison.

Judge James Doyle spent two days in Romania this month lecturing at a national conference to combat drug use, particularly teenage heroin use.

He sloughed off criticism that it was inappropriate, saying he has done nothing wrong and his program is a worthy one.

"I try my best to ignore (criticism) and do what you think is the best thing to do," Doyle said.

State Sen. Chris Lauzen, a Republican from Aurora who has been working to strengthen ties with the fledgling democracy, recommended Doyle after speaking with state's attorneys and chief judges in Kane, Kendall and DuPage counties.

"We have in Kane County what I consider a very successful drug court," Lauzen said. "I know that (drug court) is not just Jim Doyle, but it takes a person to start something."

Kane's drug court, started by Doyle in 2000, drew the attention of Oprah Winfrey and was lauded in 2002 as a national model by U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Director Asa Hutchinson.

But last year, the program drew fire from the state's Judicial Inquiry Board, which opened an investigation into allegations of ethics and due process violations leveled by defense attorneys, probation officers and former participants. Doyle has taken a hiatus from running the county's drug court pending the outcome of the investigation.

The board has been interviewing people regarding the charges and could have a public hearing, similar to a trial, by the end of the year. Board officials said they were aware of Doyle's trip, but they declined to comment on its relevance to his case other than to say it was "interesting."

Romanian Consul General George Predescu said he was aware of the charges when he asked Doyle to visit his nation, but he did not realize they involved allegations of ethical violations. He believed the investigation stemmed from disputes with defense attorneys over lost wages as clients broke the cycle of drug addiction and crime. …

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