MOUNT GILEAD — While different from past graduations, the Morrow County Court of Common Pleas recently held its Substance Abuse Court’s Summer Graduation, where 10 graduates were honored by Judge Robert C. Hickson, Jr. and Judge Tom C. Elkin.
The ceremonies took place on Friday, July 17 in the Morrow County Courthouse’s South Courtroom. Due to COVID-19, modifications to this graduation had to take place; however, the changes certainly did not take away from the special accomplishments of the graduates.
This graduation was broken down in to four mini-ceremonies, in which graduates and their closest family or friends were assigned one of the four ceremony times.
Court Administrator Greg Thomas said, “Judge Hickson and Judge Elkin wanted to make sure that each individual graduate was honored. When I met with the Judges weeks ago to discuss our options, both of them made it very clear that COVID-19 would not take away from the graduates’ accomplishments.”
From that point on, the Court set out to plan an event that would highlight the graduates and their achievements, while also being in compliance with the guidelines and directives the Court received from the Department of Health and the CDC.
“The Drug Court Probation Officers did an outstanding job of planning this event. The graduates were able to invite a select few to attend and be present as they received their diplomas, and everyone in the Courtroom was socially distanced and donned masks. The overall goal was to make it special for the graduates while not compromising the safety and health of everyone involved, and I think that was accomplished,” Thomas said.
The Morrow County Substance Abuse Court, or Drug Court, has been in existence since 2000. Currently, the Court has four different dockets: Felony, Treatment-In-Lieu, Family, and Juvenile. All four Specialized Dockets are credentialed and certified through the Supreme Court of Ohio, and all are funded by the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Judge presides over the Treatment-In-Lieu, Family, and Juvenile dockets, while Judge Elkin presides over the Felony docket. Each docket has a “treatment team” that includes a Judge, a Probation Officer, treatment providers, and, for the Family docket, a Children’s Services caseworker.
Thomas stated that Morrow County is very fortunate to have Drug Courts. “It is completely up to the Judges if there is a Drug Court, as there is nothing mandating the Court to have specialized dockets. Many Courts throughout the state do not offer specialized dockets. Here in Morrow County, Judge Hickson and Judge Elkin are fully committed to combatting substance abuse and addiction through these specialized dockets”, Thomas explained.
For questions or additional information, contact Greg Thomas, Court Administrator, at 419-947-4515; extension 2295.