COURT WATCH: Judge at Veterans Treatment Court Concerned with Marijuana Use – Even Though Vet Has Made Considerable Progress

By Kaveh Nasseri

MODESTO, CA – At a review hearing for Veterans Treatment Court in Stanislaus County Superior Court this week, Judge Carrie Stephens expressed her concern about the accused’s marijuana use.

Based on the positive results of his most recent drug tests, Judge Stephens said that she would keep the accused in the “red zone,” but will move him to the “white zone” if his next test comes up negative.

“Your levels have not increased in the amount that I think they should, just in my anecdotal experience,” said Judge Stephens, acknowledging that she is not an expert. Stephens said that she has been around drug tests for 33 years, and she expressed surprise the accused, who is undergoing treatment, was still testing positive for marijuana.

Judge Stephens acknowledged his drug use has declined, but stated that it was still “above the cut-off.” She then sent the accused to probation for a drug test later in the day.

“I just can’t imagine that somebody after three months is still coming up positive,” Stephens said. “My expectation is that you will have zero in your system after today’s date,” she added.

Public Defender Neil Zientek noted the accused brought in a progress report from a 52-week batterer intervention program, which states he attended eight group sessions and missed none. The accused has been regularly attending the Delta Vet Center, with a recent checkup on Aug. 10.

Judge Stephens acknowledged the progress made by the accused but did not change her position on his marijuana use. She asked the accused a series of questions about his experience with the treatment court, and he gave a number of brief but positive responses.

“You are in the red zone,” Stephens said at the end of the hearing. “I will move you to the white assuming that…your analysis shows zero drugs.”

Stephens set another review hearing date for Sept. 18, and said the accused would be moved to white “assuming everything goes well.”

About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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