12 Voices in 12 Hours Judge Michael Powers

Sandy Beach
Wednesday, May 23rd
Clarence Drug Court Judge Michael Powers

Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Voices in twelve hours this is a special community discussion I'm hoping UH prevention on news radio 930. WPP and. And we are bad guy I'm sandy beach boy Tony we we just did nice interview with the district attorney now we have a judge things are getting tough years. He's trying to get me locked. Up I don't even run out. So that's good that's always puts on Tuesday here we are judge Michael powers from the Claris drug court. I hear he's also an attorney who live Phillips vital. Does that mean the G it is that ever cross across lines that anybody being defended by the looks like it would appear and recorders on the they're not allowed to mail goes as wondered about that. Now I heard about you from an anonymous friend years ago she would rave about you. I wanted to rave about me what she was raving about usually. She thinks that you're good practitioner and what you do you do with the guys agree and so this will be good place for you in the drug court because a lot of special special cases there. You're talking to my mom more yet I think it'd. Now when you read the information I did not know. What they drug court was I didn't know what it took to get sent to the drug court while it's kind of lay it out force because first of all. Is he is the only type specialized court we have and we have family court and there'd criminal court or whatever but. Drug accorded that senate and the a precedence forward various things I get on them. Armed robbery corridor or anything like that and so like drugs. A separate. The drug court is one of the therapeutic courts there's also veterans' courts gambling court's okay and and there's DW I court. My drug court actually handel's side narcotics and alcohol. So what what it is Cindy is basically to diversionary court where we take people out of the criminal justice system hopefully permanently. We put him in the drug court and everything changes I have a drug court team. That is to very experienced drug court counselors. I meant sheriff's detective and a defense lawyer. And when these kids most of whom are kids I commend we'd put a plan together formed to help them. Kick the habits. And so one of your goals is to make them productive citizens again if they have but you warm ahead of time it coming record as a piece of cake from what I read. The criteria is high. You have to plead guilty to the most severe of the charges but then if you finish the the record your time of the court that could be your guilty plea would be withdrawn if you agree applies. That's exactly right so it's the carrot and the stick. So they plead guilty to the charge. And or charges. Men if they successfully complete drug court I allow them to withdraw other pleaded that charge in the enter a plea to a lesser charge which will be a violation so they can. Go forward without a criminal record but but from the beginning to the end as a long difficult road. And it ends one of the quotes that I saw in the information piece that I have. You you tell them righted the beginning you could end up spending more time in jail and not as in this course so you wanna get a mile from Iran right mindset. Exactly right and and I do tell them that. And it's often the experience that they do spend more time in jail while there in my drug court and if perhaps I could sentence them at the outset. You know one of the problems that we have I'm sure you do a guy just using in separate question is no way a drug use is portrayed. In the movies. Maybe your favorite rock star is going through rehab. Football player is a movie stars whatever it's almost seem like a badge of honor. Where somebody is is event where whose name we know and we're familiar way of I goes to rehab or gets busted for drug charges it's almost though we expected that they haven't. That that's got to that's going to be able discouraging when his and a court watching the end result of this. It's very discouraging and the messaging. I'm drug use has been absolutely atrocious. Over the years and I think it's partly to blame for the problem we're having right now because the more. That drug use is either condoned. Or. Quasi can condoned or accepted. The more kids are confused in the more kids think there's nothing wrong with taking that first pillar taking that first drinker smoking that first blunt. Every kid despite there there I'll drive for independence is rarely a member of the shape they wanted to smoke when smoking was cool. Or using drugs considered wrongly so bug cool by some group. They wanna fit in they're not mature enough who really recognize the downfall at the end there's a huge fail from the an unpleasant. So a lot of things working against you judge. A lot of things and and it's a multifaceted problem. Obviously but it that you mention the messaging and what I'm trying to do is really ramp up the focus on prevention. Because I I touch a very small sliver. Of the community of addicts. Our treatment facilities they touch a very small sliver. There's a huge universe of addicts out there that are not getting treatment they're not rehab and they're not my drug court. The way to solve this problem not treat us but to solve this problem is prevention. And the first thing you have to do on prevention along with teaching parents how to be parents again senator kids' best friend. Is through the messaging and the PSAs how many kids smoke cigarettes today nothing like it was when I was a kid. I don't get an awful lot of drunk drivers under the age of 25 anymore. Most of them are older why is that. Because the messaging the PSAs the education schools and health classes of prop these kids. What smoking will do to you and what drunk driving will duty we need a similar effort. With opiates and I am hopeful that these lawsuits against the pharmaceuticals. Are gonna have the same effect that the lawsuits against big tobacco and creating huge pool of resources that is used exclusively. Towards prevention. That's the way we've reached a large universe of air out of potential addicts to make sure they never go down this road and they never have to see me. Williams hit a home run already because John Rosemont man noted that a child rearing expert and is very much common sense. He's very well regarded says that parents do not want to anger their own children. And because of that how many times that we heard out in its only marijuana so they can do it as long as they do it in the house as we're doing it and who goes where of that goes the year you get off to a rocky start like that because they don't wanna get on the wrong side of their kids. And you mentioned they don't wanna be they wanna be their kids best friend. Not necessary your kid has been astronomers argue. That's exactly right and there is not one kid in my drug court that's ever been in there in ten years they didn't have at least one enabling pair and and really is a drug court judge I sort of become. Apparent. A quasi parent to these kids. I set the rules I enforce the rules I know everything they did all week I get reports on my check with their schools. I check with their guidance counselors I check with their parents when they come in the better of gone to school. They better be getting passing grazing better not be using drugs. They better be going to the counseling appointments are self help appointments. And they better be in front of me every Tuesday at 4 o'clock or there are consequences and a lot of these kids. Have not seen consequences for bad behavior is. You're job description is much broader than a judge in a different type of court you're also a counselor. I wish which is not necessarily true in the other course and gives you the ability to have to punish by your ability to attitude. Ryan over the same it's really essentially the role of the parent you know if you boil it down. But if you give me two credit too much credit for being a counselor I have caroling Briscoe who's the supervisor be consumer. She's my drug court coordinator of Kathy Damon from horizons in those I mean were a team. And they help me all the time to understand some of the complexities. That I haven't been exposed to. As of now I'd been exposed just about everything but they're right by my side so that we can guide these kids and are very professional. Measured and effective way. Well I take a break away a video Michael policies to judge and they Clarence drug court if you would like to ask Michael a question or give them your opinion on something in Austria and Montreal 1806169. Through through six and start and I'm thirty. And him maybe a little preventive drug question on the and the way you should zig zag of there probably appropriate time we'll be back Cuomo beats and company under Israeli and I'm thirty WB. I powers is with us. He is a judge on the up Clarence. Drug court you know like one thing I notice about you is in the short time we've had it to talk off fear you really care about these kids. It's not just a job for you. You we wanted to be successful because if you turn them around this I mean that you're getting them at a young age so ago long time to be good people and and and citizens that contribute. So you take it personally. Yeah I do very personally in these are these are all great kids I can tell you Cindy in ten years. I might have had two or three people that I wouldn't say that about. They just got a terrible disease and they need help and they haven't been able to. Get over it themselves and and like I said I almost become a quasi parent. I hope refers the people who are you any any court in the recount here how does that work. What happens side happens a couple of ways sometimes. The defense lawyer will come to me insane my client has a terrible addiction he wants to come. In your drug court because my drug court is consensual. I can't order anyone in in my drug court and never do that anyway because if they don't want to come and it's not gonna work two of the other way is if I see someone who comes in front of me I can sort of sense. Even if they don't say anything that there could be a drug problem and I'll tell the defense attorney to talk to want to see if it did drug court might be appropriate. At that point. Carolyn Crisco does the stream. To make sure that there's a did dependence. I don't take abuse diagnosis I only take dependence so that we can focus our limited resources towards the most serious. Of problems in her right to the meat of the things he's there right Jeremy if if someone just casually abuses drugs. The drug court probably isn't for them while. Well I have one question it's a legal question and I asked him did a question. And it's not it's not meant to be. Provocative resist question I have. The there when these older drug court he you have options available as a person appearing before you. That perhaps are not available in the traditional. Courtroom setting. But I always learn that was a liberty and justice for ball. But under these circumstances. Are are the people are getting. Extra special treatment because there and drug court as tough as that might be. No actually it's probably the opposite. Because anyone who comes to drug court the first Hodges who people understand they have to see me at every Tuesday. They have to do to self help meetings every week. They have to go to their counseling which is usually two groups sessions and 11 on session. Every week they are randomly talks to three times a week to make sure that they're not using. And if they violate the rules I can sanction them to community service I can have them write something. For me if I think that would be more therapeutic. And often times it'll be a week in jail I sanctioned people did two weeks in jail and one time actually three weeks in jail. So these people who comment as I said before. Can end at times do spend more time in jail. Then if I just sensed among the original charge so in that respect in the legal sense it's not easier at all. In terms of the treatment options. These treatments are option our options are open to anyone someone who has a dependence they wanna come into my drug court I welcome him with open arms. And we surround them with all of this treatment. Third point is on the treatment side anyone can go to south hopes anyone can get into treatment but I hold the club. I hold what the kind of club that the parents should have held over these kids and that is here the roles. There's consequences for bad behavior and there is accountability if you don't follow the rules if you use if you think you can plainly you're gonna spend a week in jail. And usually after a week sometimes to everyone gets the message and the the recidivism rate drops. I was essentially is this like tough love kind of thing whereas you can't use the word love but respect him and they you know with the judge and and the people working with a judge. Are trying to get you better not just punish. I think tough loves a good. Description of it nice views that many times in the courtroom and I tell the kids. In the courtroom constantly how much we care a bottom how much we want to seem get better that this is not about punishment the drug court has nothing to do with punishment. It's simply accountability. And it's putting a program together they can help these kids get over there addiction carry on their normal lives. You know when you do a talk show you that you hear about everything there goes on as it crosses our microphones over course of a year and many times we hear about parents that don't send their kids and schools. Don't see them. They don't have winter coats or gloves or anything else. Outside of the initial actor is almost no interaction. Between parent and a child. Now you get them at a point where they're using drugs have probably committed a crime or at least accused of committing a crime. I think is it possible that there's some appreciation that hey here's somebody even though is a judge. And I'm in his court is somebody who who cares about me somebody who's willing to invest something in me as opposed to being ignored. Well you mentioned John Grossman before and one of the things. That he writes about all the time is setting rules and how kids want rules kids want guidelines they want to know where they have to stop and where. They can they can move within those those boundaries when I set that for these kids. I can tell you in a very short period of time you can see the relief in their face here because sometimes it's the first time they've ever had those boundaries. Set which is why they've crossed him and gotten into the difficulties they have. I would assume that you've seen at all and you've heard and all will be tough for kids who show Wednesday. BS you you've probably have a meters or goes off. I you've got to act now you're good you should read how good are you pivotal and add at reading the end. Vigil here I think Kim pretty good and I think all the kids that have been my drug cart would tell you I'm pretty good. And I celebrated the beginning that most year gonna try and play me you're gonna try and plan surety darts and but you gonna get caught you see the veterans that have been in the court for a few months and their heads just not. Are out I have heard and I'll I had someone submit it. Some kind of paper from someone they represented to be a yacht organic chemist. To explain why they're drug test well how bad it was wild it. Do you get any appreciation from a family. Ali immense. In men's you see it does some of the kids the parents will come in to drug court periodically most of the time they just leave them with me. Which is fine with me. But at the end especially graduation. You know when you hear those parents you see the tears and they get their kid back and kind of ethic and these are people you know this isn't just a year for these people by the way very few mighty. Kids get out a year. Because if they used their year starts over OK I hate kids like drug court for four and five years now because they've freelance when they graduate. You know these parents have been dealing with that 8910 years sometimes and I've kids who started eleven years old thirteen years old became heroin addicts. Before their teenagers and and we're not talking about. You know and needs specific demographic I'm talking about across the board. What a feeling for you though when when they they graduate. Whatever term you use the graduated in their out it's not like a traditional setting where they gonna commit crimes again I'm sure there's Summers have a gruesome. But you know you've done a good job your people have done a good job and they have a chance at a decent lies got to be very rural. It's tremendously. Rewarding and it's it's one of the main reasons we do that I saw the problem ten years ago like became the judge except for one thing you say it's rewarding. You don't even as Harry you're going a different thing if it doesn't not rewarded monetarily. No I remind don't they remind me ever again trouble call him because he's even charging for this he's doing it out of the goodness of his heart in Pope now. It more on the regular 930 WBM twelve. Voices in twelve hours this is a special community discussion and Tokyo April. Prevention on news radio 930 WPP and. We thereof we're learning a lot in this time when judge Joseph Michael powers of from a Clarence drug court. And I wasn't kidding you do it out of a labor of love Unita even compensated for it. But I assuming. Very rewarding for. It is it's very rewarding. I have my regular court to criminal court or handle all sorts of matters. The drug court actually takes more time than the criminal court but to. But the reward just our personal. Reward is really is significant. I didn't wanna ask you this question because. I asked the district attorney and I asked we Israel. About that Saddam is is because I think it's important the mayor of New York City the line zeal wants to have in New York. Places where heroin specifically heroin. Addicts can come we have their needles. And get you get a sanitized treatment there would be medical personnel bear. And they're beat Google would narc him there in case goes the wrong way. IE I just don't think that's a very good idea and I'd like your opinion on it. I think it's a terrible idea. I understand the U reasoning behind it. But it is. Exactly the wrong thing to do. It's not only wrong because it implicitly condones drug use. But it's the messaging again when kids see that there are senders sat out by the government people in authority people they should be. Respected I look at that and what's it warts as thirteen 1415 year old kid's gonna think I guess heroin isn't so bad look at there's a center where I can go and shoot a. The government sinner yes it's a government senator funded by our government the marijuana is going to be OK you know and then they end up in court terrible message let's go to if you put your headphones and we'll talk to. Lou on a cellphone bully Iran would judge Michael flowers. Accordingly. I didn't quote judge you were talking about enabling tramp. Enabling enabling car. I have a role. Who is still a drug addict. Oh. Stroll and stolen from trampling. Stolen. From me you're my identification. And when I held responsible for edit the rest of this family what absolutely. Did on me so I want all. But I see a lot of that Louie. Unfortunately. He you know what happened to you was apparently condoned by the parent. I also see where kids steal from the parents and then they steal from the grandparents in the show from the friends because. They're trying to pay for the drugs prescription drugs to begin with thought and then and then when they can't. Steal enough to pay for this prescription drugs they go to cheaper drug which is heroin on the street problem with the enabling part is that. The parents are so concerned in some cases about and their kids not liking them anymore. That they go in and mystical form they don't can help form until the problem becomes so severe. That they throw their hands and they turn to people like me and others to solve the problem for him. It said that is part of it this particular relative. Rob on the road as I was one the only ones some sort of apps that. But he rubbed his mother's open at least that his mother was buried by the county and cardboard box. He had that that's an awful thing and then the tragedies. That come from this problem are so multi dimensional. It's like thrown Iraq in a pond. It's not the splash. That really gets people's attention it's the ripples. It affects families that affect schools that affects communities. At the cost to just the financial cost. We've got kids dying by the thousands. And and and a lot of that starts at home where the parents don't set those guidelines they don't. Exert the tough love and we see what's happened. And especially the problem what is ours when this particular relative was eight years old and use it at all now. Just. Everything we're all job ever oh. Permanent jobs are. Temporary work. Always. Just enough to get what he trucks. So what was the disposition how did doubted him though. He's done Charlie time. Several times about things they aren't wise but. Soul out there soul. As far as I know used stuff. I have not object with this particular individual but I don't have contact with several numbers the trampoline because. I was the one that helped the older street to. Well you you were at least not an enabler. You are trying to do the right thing emblem of hope that there would understand that although. Certainly hurt the forgo time for everybody thank you thank you very much slower. Eyes are so I assume that. As somebody before you gets a gets sent to you by another court and you and you start the process here. If they complete it and we'll go through a process a little bit. You mentioned it briefly at the top of it when they complain that. Then they get to withdraw via Syria the most serious charge of guilty in May get to re applied. When when they're done with a process and they graduate. Do they have anything on their permanent record what what would they have the initial charge or disposition of that analyst. The initial charges removed because I don't sentence. I cake deplete OK and then the drug court proceedings but I don't impose sentence and wait if they if I dismiss him from drug quarter they quit. And I sentenced them on the original charge. If state which you which is also a really tough love part of this whole program. If they graduate from drug court than that charged it's dismissed that is not on the record as a conviction. But they'll plead to like a disorderly conduct or some lesser charge that remains on the record but it's not a criminal charge. And I so as always preparing now for information for their show. I'm think it promises and pretty nice it's probably easier than the others and that I saw this it. Rules are stringent and non negotiable auto like that. Donna you're talking of course I'm judge Roy being. All the awful lawless of the bagels. Rebecca we're a good judge Mike flowers and they Clarence drug court if you have any questions they go through your Montreal 1806 on six through through six and star 930 where where a lot today. And I am especially interested in hearing all the details a judge your Michael powers and Clarence drug court. Because of what we get used to things. We just get used to hearing there was a drug problem and callous too bad and then you put in the back your mind because we hear a whole lot but it's nice to see somebody on the front lines. Working against that but churning out success a success stories. Where these kids bingo. Back home go back to work ago where whoever they would be alive. And now they are fresh start and this court is giving them a chance that many of their parents in the government that's I mean that's tremendous. Let's go to a dean. In that element senior I would judge you know Michael powers. Good at it knows judge you know. Two things I want this element of sense that there and I have appeared and recorded eerie out all the drug courts and I can't say anything bad about them. Just powers has the right personality right temperament and is an outstanding jurist. For doing what he's doing. That's why I'm no. The folks that are involved in drug court my clients. And every every every everyone who gets involved they had to know what commitments it really is and it really does take the right mindset. They don't want to do it in if they don't. It's not a war for them and judge powers get that. Again he's he's not too saw not too harsh. He really handles this professionally and as it is in my book one of the best. It is in the does. I think Israel exists in my our way of reminding is right temperament for this kind of a job. Are absolutely at two against sometimes it calls for a soft touch all the golf. Sometimes it calls programmer. And he knows when. To do either so just because wanted to. Thank you gain your last name isn't powers is that dean powers I don't think so a god thank you what do you think about that guy getting review from a good review from a defense attorney. Very flattering thank you appreciate. We were very tired spend a lot. We hope we do the right things. We have a very high success rate in graduating these kids so we're very proud of that. Could you do this a regular court or is if the conditions seem exactly right for collier doing it and with whom you're doing it. Could this kind of an approach retaken and a regular court or is that a is that drugs different animal. It would never work. You have to have a separate court that's why created the entirely separate court separate out orders and in everything is separate from the backcourt because. It's such an intense environment. In a recorders so much work and so much follow up every single day. I now that we just heard from way air defense attorney who has had clients appear an accord. It's our most defense attorneys happy. That their client is very has got a better chance of mavs are getting a better life and then maybe. Getting. Getting out by learning some thing. Or they still defense attorneys and my client is before you. That is a great question because at the beginning a lot of defense attorneys were afraid. To put their kids in drug court. Because they really didn't know was gonna happen York and they thought they'd spend a lot time in jail and the judges to hammer him all the time. But as they got to know Mike court and to see how I did business I found more and more those people coming over and actually putting their kids in my drug court. Now if say if they don't succeed and go back there original court the original was sentenced. What they did they go back the original charge in the nice sentenced them. I take into consideration the fact that they gave drug court to try to Russia they don't know if they were just playing me and they were never serious that's one thing. If they sincerely tried and just couldn't do it. I give him credit for that moment there's no disincentive for coming in to my drug court. And lets you stranger. Mean around you know hires a big one I think you'd have to have a person like yourself readers a you seem like here. As you know your tough minded badger compare passionate I don't think yeah my approach or. A ballot. Audit says the rules are straight. Our stringent and non negotiable as you went over some of them you have to be drug free for a year you have to attend them what kind of meetings and afterwards. They have to attend formal counseling sessions with oasis certified. Counselors and then they have to attend to self help. Meetings which may be alcoholics anonymous. I'm narcotics anonymous those types of things and the other thing I forgot to mention is that they have to either be in school full time. Or employed full time. And if they're not a record that they do 25 hours of community service excellence and and that it's amazing how that job market broke open when I put. I've ever done it's it's your jobs program guys than it is that's great because. What civilians that are going why they just sitting there behind this dog for nonviolence. Obviously why aren't they out they're doing something. For good to have accomplishes something and I I think what you just described as that. And it gets him out of my house I don't wanna see these kids sit around all day playing video games are hanging out with their friends because we know what happens when. 141517. Year old kids do that so this forces and they get out of the house and if they don't do it there's a penalty for. So you've you've seen it all because you worked in various aspects over criminal justice system. Anything lacking now things you'd like to see go legislature get involved with the will make your job easier more productive or the jobs of anybody on the bench. Pat I think. Most important thing the legislature. Can do and what people can do when they talk to their legislature whose legislators. Is to get funding for prevention. Treatment is important rehab is important there's insurance that pays for that there's funding sources for that. We need to ramp up our efforts in prevention. In schools we need to have. The medical schools educating their doctors we need to teach those factors we need to you who. Rain in the pharmaceutical companies that are flooding the market with this poison. And we need to. Get into the schools I speak in the schools a lot. We need to get more in the health classes and we need to get those public service announcements. On television everyone remembers Joni. With the voice thing already having Hillary are very powerful well you don't see kids smoking like he used to. It's just amazing what one more quick question now regarding rehab we we hear that a lot what is what is involved with the besides abstinence obviously. It varies from the treatment facility to treatment facility. If you take places like beacon and horizons of their exceptional. They do a great job sometimes it's a 28 day program sometimes it's ninety. I have sent kids out of state to a place called Credo owns and other places her outside Western New York. For a year because they kept trying. Locally and it didn't work because there's still around their friends are still were on the environment. So I sent him away and I had fantastic results so it really varies. But they have to go to an oasis certified. Treatment facility for me. I think the reason that you're our cars has a success record as it does is much the same as we're talking about John Rosemont. I think a lot of the same. A thought processes apply. That you're in charge. They're learning hopefully they're learning there's certain things that are required and are not optional. I mean I think you're your approach to being if a judge in a court like this is similar to rose minds approach for being a good parent. I think it is too and and the other thing against Andy I see all my kids and I talked to him personally. Every Tuesday. It's not just kids who get in trouble. Because the kids who are getting in trouble in the kids or doing what there's this we do and they deserve a pat on the back here and an encouragement to keep doing well. I know there been some drug courts where they only see the violators and to me that's just not. Doing the complete job so like I said every kid when they come up. I know what they did that we can know what they didn't school I know what they did at home and I know what there. Taxes. Show whether they've used or not and they know what they're counselors are saying about him. What you're doing an outstanding job of something we all understand more and we appreciate that and my last word is if you're working for free and her come on like that it include I think it. I'm not advertise and do your community your. Our in house counsel. The supervisor is still hope that we can end the regular mice judge Michael powers. Very interest thing I think variances saying that about wraps it up. Of the beach and company we'll see you tomorrow. I was after Iraq as well again I know I'll I'll be there I'll be here tomorrow. Be at 12 o'clock word is color CO LOR. And text that is 72881. And he might win a thousand dollars. Oh yeah. We'll well. Which they never have to these these. Frankly in my opinion I do given him.