Equal Protection and Drug Courts

State v. Mancuso,

State v. Mancuso, 355 So. 3d 942 (Fla Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. 2023)

Court is statutorily prohibited from transferring veteran’s case to VTC, without DA approval.

Commonwealth v. McCabe

Commonwealth v. McCabe, 265 A. 3d 1279 (Penn. 2021)

A problem-solving court, in this case a Veterans Treatment Court (VTC), did not deny the defendant the full benefit of the problem-solving court in contravention of his rights to due process and equal protection under the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution due to his inability to fully pay restitution.

Andrade v. State

Andrade v. State, 328 So. 3d 307 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2021)

The Court of Appeals remanded the case for de novo consideration where the petitioner was denied entry into drug court despite meeting statutorily mandated eligibility criteria. The sentencing court had denied access to drug court based on the victim’s objection. The Court stated: “If the trial court determines that Petitioner meets all of section 948.08(6)(b)’s eligibility requirements, including section 948.08(6)(b)1., “[u]pon motion of either party or the court’s own motion, and with the agreement of the defendant, the court shall admit an eligible person into a pretrial substance abuse education and treatment intervention program. . . .” § 948.08(6)(c), Fla. Stat. (2020) (emphasis added). This is subject to three exceptions that neither party contends are applicable here. Thus, if Petitioner met the eligibility requirements of section 948.08(6)(b), the trial court shall admit him into the program, regardless of the inclinations of either the purported victim or the trial court.

State v. Second Jud. Dist. Ct.

State v. Second Jud. Dist. Ct., 134 Nev. 783, 432 P.3d 154 (2018)

In a separation of powers case, Nevada statutes authorizes district courts to assign certain eligible defendants to a veteran’s court program.  However, if the offense charged or the defendant’s prior convictions involved the use or threatened use of force or violence, the district court is not allowed to assign the defendant to the veterans court program, “unless the prosecuting attorney stipulates to the assignment.” NRS 176A.290(2). The Nevada Supreme Court found the statute was in effect a prosecutorial veto over a judge’s sentencing decision, in violation of the Nevada Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine. Nev. Const. art. 3, § (1)(1). The court further held that the veto provision was severable.

People v. Rydzewski

People v. Rydzewski, 331 Mich. App. 126, 951 N.W.2d 356 (2020)

State does not have statutory right to veto admission into mental health court as is provided in drug court statute.

Simeone v. State

Simeone v. State, 276 So. 3d 797 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 2019)

Although Defendant may be eligible for Veterans’ Treatment Court, that does not mean he is entitled to admission to such court.

People v. MacDowell

People v. MacDowell, No. C086159, 2018 WL 6818649 (Cal. Ct. App. Dec. 28, 2018)

Disqualification from treatment court is valid for non-residents of the county.

State v. Vargas

State v. Vargas, No. A-4081-15T1, 2017 WL 4247538 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div. Sept. 26, 2017)

Denial of drug court application merely because defendant went to trial and was convicted was error because “a court cannot impose a ‘trial penalty’ on a defendant who chooses to invoke that constitutional right.”

State v. Keister

State v. Keister, 2019 WI 26, 385 Wis. 2d 739, 924 N.W.2d 203

Holding constitutional statutes that prohibit defendant from being admitted to drug court or being required to be expelled from drug court because he was charged with a violent offense.

State v. Barclay

State v. Barclay, 895 N.W.2d 923 (Iowa Ct. App. 2017)

Defendant asserts he was denied access to drug court because of his mental health disability—a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The court doubted whether the ADA provides rights at sentencing and held that Barclay had not proven his mental illness hampered a major life activity. The court also noted Barclay had not properly preserved his equal protection argument.

People v. Baldes

People v. Baldes,  , 873 N.W.2d 338 (2015).

Prosecutor approval to admission to drug court not obtained and thus court placement vacated.