2013 Accountability Courts Conference

Participants at the 9th Annual Accountability Court Conference crowded into the welcoming ceremony on May 20 at the Renaissance Atlanta Waverly Hotel in Atlanta. More than 640 attendees were on hand as Chief Judge Brenda S. Weaver, Superior Courts, Appalachian Judicial Circuit, and Judge Frank Jordan, Superior Courts, Chattahoochee Judicial Circuit made their welcoming remarks.
Judge Brenda Weaver speaks to the 2013 Accountability Courts Conference.Judge Weaver, Chair, Judicial Council Accountability Court Committee, noted that the conference’s theme “Setting the Standard: Measuring the Work, Marking Our Progress, and Making a Difference” sums up what these courts want to accomplish.  Rep. David Ralston, Speaker of the House of Representatives, opened the conference by saying that the General Assembly is focusing on the things that are necessary. Accountability courts improve lives and will continue to be supported by those in state government.
Group picture of attendees at the 2013 Accountability Courts ConferenceChief Justice Carol W. Hunstein commended the Accountability Court Committee, judges, and coordinators for their work.  The state of Georgia is committed to expanding accountability courts statewide.  “There are 92 accountability courts in the state with more on the way,” the Chief Justice stated.  While there has been tremendous progress since the first Adult Felony Drug Court began operation in 1994, there is room for improvement.  Of 49 judicial circuits, 38 circuits have accountability courts, some with more than one type of accountability courts. That leaves eleven circuits with no accountability courts.
The three-day conference began in earnest at 10:00 a.m. as the attendees — including judges, court administrators, accountability court coordinators, attorneys, law enforcement officers, and treatment providers — broke out for different sessions.  Presenters brought an array of experiences and backgrounds to topics ranging from Addiction Science, Targeting Participants for Adult Drug Courts, Compassion Fatigue, Clinical Evaluations, Lessons from Unsuccessful Participants, the Role of Prosecutors in Accountability Courts, Cold Case Court, and Community Partnerships.
For the first time, Accountability Court Hero Awards were given.  Stakeholders and employees across the state were asked to nominate those who contributed in a special way to accountability courts by going above and beyond the call of duty, impacting the workings of the accountability courts and their participant’s lives.  Awards were given in the following categories:  judge, prosecutor, defense attorney, probation staff, case manager, court administrator, treatment provider, and law enforcement officer.
These Accountability Court Heroes were recognized on May 21 by Judge Jason Deal, Superior Courts, Northeastern Judicial Circuit.  Awardees included: Judge Juanita Stedman, Cobb County Juvenile Drug Court and Family Drug Treatment Court; Walter Carmack, DeKalb County Rebound Drug Court; Andrew F. Cummings, DeKalb County Drug Court; Priscilla Daniels, Gwinnett County DUI, Drug, and Mental Health Courts; Kelly Jarrell, Mountain Judicial Circuit Drug Court; Tanya D. Jeffords, Augusta Judicial Circuit Adult Felony Drug Court; Ms. Erika Lockette, Muscogee Juvenile Drug Court; and Bayyinah Shaheed, DeKalb County Rebound Drug Court.


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