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Wed., July 1, 2009, 1:36 p.m.

Idaho chief justice named to national drug court ‘Hall of Fame’

Idaho Supreme Court Chief Justice Dan Eismann has been named to the National Drug Court Hall of Fame, the highest honor given by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, which represents more than 2,300 drug courts nationwide. As a district judge, Eismann founded the Ada County Drug Court a decade ago; it's now had more than 600 graduates, 80 percent of whom have had no new criminal charges. The courts focus on integrating criminal justice procedures and drug addiction treatment, with the goal of stopping the "revolving door of crime, victimization, and incarceration by drug addicted criminal defendants," according to the Idaho Supreme Court. Eismann also pushed for expansion of drug courts to all seven of Idaho's judicial districts and broadening the model to include mental health courts.

Idaho now has 55 of the special "problem-solving" courts; other states have used Idaho as a model. The award Eismann received is officially called the Stanley M. Goldstein Hall of Fame Award, named after the Florida judge who established the nation's first drug court 20 years ago. Click below to read the full press release from the Idaho Supreme Court.

IDAHO SUPREME COURT ~ For Immediate Release
July 1, 2009

Idaho Chief Justice Honored with National Drug Court
Hall of Fame Award

(Boise) – Idaho Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann has been honored by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, representing over 2300 drug courts across the United States, with the group’s highest national honor.  

Chief Justice Eismann was recently presented with the Stanley M. Goldstein Hall of Fame Award in recognition of his personal commitment and state and national leadership in advancing the expansion and effectiveness of drug courts.

The award is named for a Miami – Dade County, Florida judge, Stanley M. Goldstein, who, nearly 20 years ago, worked with a group of innovative criminal justice professionals to establish the nation’s first drug court.  This court focused on integrating criminal justice procedures and drug addiction treatment with the goal of stopping the revolving door of crime, victimization, and incarceration by drug addicted criminal defendants.  Since that early, pioneering effort, drug courts, and now other problem-solving courts, have spread across the nation and have achieved unprecedented impact on the justice system by reducing criminal recidivism, protecting communities, reuniting families, and restoring individuals to productive and tax-paying lives.  

In making the award, the national organization acknowledged that Chief Justice Eismann began his drug court efforts with a reputation as a no nonsense criminal judge.  At the same time he was also was known for his keen-minded willingness to look at the evidence of positive results and his openness to finding better ways to administer justice.  The Ada County Drug Court, which Chief Justice Eismann founded, celebrated its tenth anniversary earlier this year.  This court has now achieved over 600 graduates of whom eight out of ten have had no new criminal charges.  In addition, graduates consistently show major gains in education, employment, family relationships, and productive community activities.  

Further, Chief Justice Eismann was recognized for his leadership role in establishing the Idaho Drug Court Act.  This legislation allowed expansion of drug courts to all seven Idaho judicial districts and further broadened the drug court model to include mental health courts.  The Idaho law has also provided a model for similar laws in other states, as well. In addition, through the leadership of all three branches of government, the state established a dedicated fund, supported in part by liquor revenues, to support drug courts.

With the implementation of the Idaho Drug Court Act, Justice Eismann was named Chairman of the statutory Statewide Drug Court and Mental Health Court Coordinating Committee.  In this capacity, Justice Eismann has been an articulate and well-received champion of the model and its cost-effectiveness at legislative hearings, community and other forums locally and nationally, and in articles in a variety of publications.  Despite heavy responsibilities leading the state’s highest court, Justice Eismann has been a frequent graduation speaker at drug court graduations across the state.  He still finds time, on occasion, to actually preside over the Ada County Drug Court, when a “fill-in” is needed.  Few graduations take place in the Ada County Drug Court without Justice Eismann in attendance.

Justice Eismann’s contributions have been of greatest value in reinforcing the importance and the legitimacy of drug courts as cost-effective sentencing alternatives.

Idaho now has a total of 55 problem-solving courts, due in no small measure to the encouragement and legitimacy Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann has fostered for this approach to justice from his office as Chief Justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.  




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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Russell covers Idaho news from the state capitol in Boise and writes the Eye on Boise blog.

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