Berrien Trial Court to Graduate Drug & Mental Health Court Programs

The ongoing success of the Berrien County Trial Court’s specialty treatment programming will be celebrated later this month with the help of Michigan Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Clement presiding.

On Thursday, November 21st, Justice Clement will join the Honorable Donna Howard as the Berrien County Trial Court marks the graduation ceremonies for both the current Drug Treatment Court and Mental Health Court programs.

The event will celebrate not only the recent 100 and counting graduates of the Drug Treatment Court, but also the success of both treatment courts – including Mental Health Court – in 2019.  The review hearings and graduations will be held in courtroom 307 of the Saint Joseph courthouse beginning at 9:30 am with the celebration ceremony beginning at 10:30 am that day.

The Mental Health Court was established in 2009 with Judge Al Butzbaugh as the first presiding judge.  There are currently 21 active enrollees and there have been 130 graduates to date. The Mental Health Court targets those individuals on probation for both misdemeanor and felony level offenses with serious mental illness.

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The Drug Treatment Court was established in 2010 by Judge Angela Pasula. There are currently 37 active enrollees and 103 successful graduates to date. The Drug Treatment Court targets individuals on probation for felony level offenses who have a significant substance abuse history.

The Mental Health Court and Drug Treatment Court are both currently run under the supervision of Judge Donna Howard. Defendants for both Mental Health Court and Drug Treatment Court are referred from multiple sources including the prosecutor’s office, public defender’s office and private defense bar, the Michigan Department of Corrections, and Trial Court probation.