Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson announces a Behavioral Health Court (BHC) graduation ceremony was held yesterday for three graduates who have spent the past year working with BHC. As a result of their graduation from the program, the three associated pending criminal cases will be dismissed with prejudice – meaning they cannot be refiled.
When the recent grads first began their participation in the BHC program, they meet weekly with the Court and as time passed and the grads met their assigned objectives, the duration between court visits was extended. Grads were required to remain drug free, which was verified with random checks, complete mental health treatment, remain compliant with any prescribed medications, and complete a community “give back” project.
During yesterday’s hearing, the Honorable Sally Pokorny stated, “…the goal for everybody is for successful graduation from Behavioral Health Court and then a successful life thereafter with the tools that you have learned that are available in order to make things better.” Judge Pokorny also extended her appreciation to the “…county commissioners for their enthusiastic support for Behavioral Health Court.” She went on to state, “…many governmental entities seem to have lost sight of the higher good the government can perform, so I appreciate that locally, we have not lost sight of that higher good.”
The District Attorney’s Office would like to thank the Douglas County Commissioners, Judge Pokorny, Bert Nash, DCCCA, and the defense attorneys who have worked diligently to ensure the success of BHC and most importantly, the success of its participants.
In January 2017 BHC was established to more effectively address the increasing number of defendants with a mental illness cycling through the local court systems and the adult detention center. It is a specialized docket designed to address the unique needs of mentally ill offenders charged in the Douglas County District Court. The BHC serves individuals who are charged or arrested and whose mental illness contributed significantly to behaviors that lead to the offense. BHC identifies individuals and oversees their involvement in supportive services aimed at reducing their return to custody.
Rule 226 - Kansas Rules of Professional Conduct
3.6 Advocate: Trial Publicity
3.8 Advocate: Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor