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Greater Cleveland Drug Court Celebrates 20 Years of Graduations

Sep 30, 2019
Contact:  Ed Ferenc, Public Information Officer                                  

Cleveland Municipal Court
216 664 6787 / 216 789 2597

Independence, OH - Over 200 people gathered at the Holiday Inn on Rockside Road in Independence Friday, September 20 to celebrate and 20th anniversary of first graduation of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court.

The ceremony was designed to recognize those who were instrumental in the formation and development of specialized docket since its inception. Altogether eleven people were presented with awards.  (List posted below)  

The ceremony also paid tribute to the late Val Davis who was in the first graduating class of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court and worked in the Probation Department for 15 years.

“Two decades and nearly 1,800 graduates later, the Greater Cleveland Drug Court continues to be a formidable instrument in battling the scourge of addiction and has expanded to be more inclusive and progressive in approach,” said Judge Lauren C. Moore, who has been overseeing the docket since January, 2015.

Harry Boomer, one of the most familiar faces in Cleveland television was the Master of Ceremonies and the Keynote Speaker was Dave Smeltz, who in 1978 co-founded  I-Tal, the first reggae band in the State of Ohio

Smeltz said he started drinking when he downed a Stroh’s beer that he saw in his grandfather’s refrigerator.  He didn’t like the taste, but did like the buzz it gave him.

“Alcohol worked for me and not against me,” he said.   That was obvious several years later when he learned how to play a guitar and wanted to sound like Jimi Hendrix.

“And after six to twelve beers, I thought I sounded like Hendrix,” he said.  

Smeltz told the crowd addiction is a not a moral issue, it’s a disease that he didn’t realize he had until he was addicted.   After a long struggle, which he wrote out in his first book, Clean: From Reggae to Recovery Dave is now celebrating 18 years of sobriety.  

In 2010, he started Clean House Inc., a non-profit organization and home for men recovering from alcohol and substance abuse.

You see watch Dave Smeltz’s entire speech here:

Drug Court Award Recipients

The Honorable Larry A. Jones Sr. 

In 1998, Judge Jones was selected by his colleagues to oversee the Greater Cleveland Drug Court.  “It was an educational experience and was part of the change in my perspective and thinking on the local and national drug problem. I saw that the “tough on crime” approach was not working. Our community was not any safer and meanwhile many of our young people were being sent off to prison,” said Judge Jones.

The Honorable Anita Laster Mays

Judge Anita Laster Mays began presiding over the Greater Cleveland Drug Court on January 1, 2009 when she and her team helped with the implementation of the Cuyahoga County Drug Court.  During her tenure, partnerships were established with Tri-C, N.E.O.N. and Cleveland Department of Health to assist with the court’s wrap-around approach to enhance individual lives: mind, body and spirit. Under Judge Laster Mays, the Sobriety 1-mile walk/5K run was established.

Jess Wilson

Affectionately called “The Mother of Drug Court” Jess Wilson was with the Greater Cleveland Drug Court Program from its inception in 1998 until July 2012, first as its Probation Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Co-Director, and finally Director.  “When Drug Court began, the interest was solely on drug treatment for its clients. Later, the program expanded to a holistic approach when it was ascertained that drug court clients required multi-agency or multidisciplinary input and assistance,” she said.

Daryl Jackson

Daryl Jackson joined the Cleveland Municipal Court in 2009 as part of a substance abuse grant and worked with African American males between the ages of 18 and 25. After the initial three year period, the grant was renewed for an additional year and Daryl was hired as Drug Court Program Coordinator, during which time he received his Ph.D. in Counseling from Cleveland State University.   Dr. Jackson left the Court in 2017 and eventually secured a position at the National Association of Drug Court Professionals in Washington D.C.

Wallace Green

Wallace Green has been a member of the Drug Court team since it was formed in 1998 serving under the Honorable Judge Larry Jones, The Honorable Judge Anita Laster Mays and the current Drug Court Judge, the Honorable Lauren Moore. In the beginning, Wallace was the Director of Outpatient Services at Community Assessment and Treatment Services (CATS) when Judge Jones approached the agency with the Drug Court concept.  Once the plan was put into motion, Mr. Green wrote the three phase treatment program for what would become the Greater Cleveland Drug Court. 

William B. Kelley

William B. Kelley is a Public Defender who has been with Drug Court since its inception. Although the program is non-adversarial by its nature, Bill has always been committed to do all he can to assist the participants who are facing sanctions, suggesting less severe sanctions than jail for those participants who have lapsed in their recovery. If a participant was/is in trouble, Bill is the “first call for help!”

Rick Cutright

Because of his experience as a part-time police officer in Oakwood, Rick was selected to be part of the Drug Court’s Apprehension Unit. Any Drug Court participant who failed to comply with the conditions of the program was referred to this unit, which had the responsibility of locating and bringing that person to court.   The one thing Rick says he brings to the Drug Court---defendants!!!

Regina Daniel

In March 2013, Regina assumed the additional title and duties of Specialized Docket Coordinator. Effective January 1, 2014, specialized docket court programs were required to be certified by the Supreme Court of Ohio. Regina Daniel implemented the process of certification for the Municipal Court’s specialized docket programs, including Drug Court by preparing and submitting the application and written program materials to comply with the 25 standards required by the Supreme Court.

Tom “T-Bone” Mulgrew

In 2002, Lt. Mulgrew was promoted to the Greater Cleveland Drug Court Apprehension Unit as a warrant officer. He spent the next five years working with that unit, until 2007 when he was promoted to his current position as Lieutenant. He currently oversees the daily operation of the apprehension unit, which handles assignments for all Cleveland Municipal Court Specialized dockets – Drug Court, Mental Health, Human Trafficking and Veteran’s Court.

William “Bill” Mason

After witnessing the success of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court, Bill was able to bring the common pleas judges together and help establish a drug court countywide.  He played a major role in raising money for an event to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Greater Cleveland Drug Court and the money raised helped services for the participants on the docket.  

Jim Joyner

Jim Joyner is a Licensed Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor Clinical Supervisor. His 48 years of professional experience in the field of alcohol and drug prevention, treatment, and training have made him a well-known educator and trainer throughout the state.  He is the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements over his career, including recently being selected as Professional of the Year 2016 by the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Counselors.

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