Rural Drug Prosecution Assistance Project

  • Weinberg, Harold (PI)

Grants and Contracts Details

Description

The criminal justice system in many parts of the Commonwealth of Kentucky is severely strained by a rising tide of drug-related prosecutions. This surge in prosecutions taxes existing prosecutorial, defense, and judicial resources. The sheer volume of drug-related prosecutions adds to already-burdensome caseloads; strains the ability of the criminal justice system to process prosecutions; pressures the system to decline prosecutions; inappropriately settle cases; and, fail to provide adequate resources to individual cases. The strain on the criminal justice system in Kentucky from the rising tide of drug-related prosecutions is particularly acute in the rural parts of the Commonwealth. They have seen an explosive growth in drug usage, and thus in the drug prosecutions that must be undertaken. The strain on the rural criminal justice system also exists because, unlike urban Kentucky, rural Kentucky tends to have inadequate resources to support the criminal justice system. Rural Kentucky also lacks mechanisms available in urban areas allowing the dedication of increased resources to the handling of drug-related cases. Especially significant is that the use off forfeiture-generated funds is not available in many rural communities on a steady, predictable basis. The inadequate resource problem is not limited to anyone aspect of the criminal justice system. To meet the rising tide of drug-related prosecutions, it will be necessary to find additional prosecutorial resources. It will also be necessary to augment the resources available to the public defenders who defend many of these cases, and to the judges before whom the cases are tried. To meet the rising tide, it would also be appropriate to retain the expertise of existing participants in the criminal justice system, rather than losing them to more lucrative opportunities within the legal profession. It would be especially appropriate and helpful to give prosecutors and public defenders additional incentives to increase their retention rates. The goal of the project is to enhance the ability of the criminal justice system in the rural parts of the Commonwealth to prosecute, defend, and adjudicate the increased volume of drug-related cases. To achieve this goal, the University of Kentucky Research Foundation, School of Law, will use the 2005 Congressional Earmark funds to: (I) acquaint prospective lawyers with the opportunities available in the rural parts of the Commonwealth relating to the prosecution of drug-related cases; (2) increase the number of prosecutors in the rural parts of the Commonwealth to work on drug-related prosecutions; (3) increase the number of public defenders in the rural parts of the Commonwealth to work on drug-related prosecutions; and, (4) augment the clerking resources available to judges in the rural parts of the Commonwealth to handle drug-related prosecutions.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date1/1/069/30/08

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