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Drug court committee terminates participant after DUI charge

Drug court committee terminates participant after DUI charge

Posted: Monday, April 12, 2010 9:21 pm

By JOHN BRANNON
Staff Reporter
Friday was a bad day at Black Rock for Daniel Scott Ferguson of Union City.
About 8:40 a.m., dressed in prison stripe clothing, he stood before the bench of justice in a small courtroom at the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex where the weekly session of drug court convened a few minutes earlier.
Circuit Judge Bill Acree Jr. presided.
A crowd of about 30 other drug court participants sat in church-type pews and watched in silence as Acree grilled Ferguson. Each of them knew that his or her time would come to go forth and look into the eyes of justice.
In the entire process, there are moments of sadness and moments of happiness. Sadness when sanctions are imposed — usually a few days jail — for violations of drug court policies and regulations. Happiness when it announced that one of their number has been “clean and sober” for X-days.
At the Friday session, Ferguson was the first called from among the crowd seated in the little courtroom.
Acree reviewed his case file and peered over half-moon glasses at the young man who graduated from Union City High School in 2006.
Acree noted Ferguson had been arrested recently on a charge of DUI and driving on revoked license. He also said Ferguson has been sanctioned (punished) twice since entering the program.
“You just don’t get the picture,” Acree told Ferguson. “The drug court committee has voted to terminate you (from the program). Next week you’ll be arraigned. We’ll have a hearing on the probation violation.”
Whereupon, Ferguson was escorted out of the courtroom by deputies to return to a jail cell.
Ferguson, who was the only one terminated from the program on Friday, is one of many since the program was started in 2005.
Ferguson entered the 27th Judicial District drug court program in July 2009 after pleading guilty to felony charges of one count of burglary and two counts of theft. He was sentenced to four years in prison, 60 days of which to be served in the county jail. On July 27, 2009, he was released from jail on probation to participate in drug court where he would be under the supervision of Westate Corrections.
A notation in his file at the Obion County courthouse reads, “He (said) he has used alcohol since age 14 and also uses valium, THC (marijuana), Hydrocodone, Xanax and cocaine.”
If Ferguson’s probation is revoked, he could be transferred to the state Department of Corrections to serve the time remaining on the four-year sentence.
Drug court meets weekly on Thursdays in Weakley County and Fridays in Obion County.
It was established by Acree in December 2005. He is assisted in duties on the bench by Obion County General Sessions Judge Jimmy Smith and Weakley County General Sessions Judge Tommy Moore.
Published in The Messenger 4.12.10

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