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Court Treatment for Defendant in Drug Possession Case


This is a matter of an application made by the petitioner Ronald Miller in regard to a judgment that was filed in the Franklin County Clerks office on the 29th of January, 2008. The respondent in the case is Brian Fischer who is the Commissioner for the NYS Department of Correctional Services. The case is being heard in the Supreme Court of the State of New York located in Franklin County.

Case Background

On the 21st of November, 2006, the petitioner was sentenced in the Suffolk County Court as a second felony offender. His sentence was set at five years with two years of post release supervision. This sentence was for his conviction of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance (drug possession).

On the same date in November, the Suffolk County Court judge, the Honorable Ralph T. Gazzillo, issued and order directing DOCS for the defendant to enroll in a Comprehensive Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment Program.

Case Discussion

The CASAT program is designed to prepare a chemically dependent inmate for a return to the community. The program provides education and counseling that focuses on continuing abstinence from all mood altering substances. It also encourages participation in self help groups. A New York Criminal Lawyer said there are three phases to the CASAT program. Phase one includes a DOCS alcohol and substance abuse treatment correctional annex. This is a medium security correctional facility that will provide intensive alcohol and substance abuse treatment services to inmates that are eligible for temporary release or who are convicted of felonies defined in the Penal Law code.

The second phase of the CASAT program involves a transitional period where the inmate is released into community reintegration component including transfer to a work release facility. The final phase of CASAT, phase 3 consist of an after care component.

In this case the petitioner’s temporary release program application for work release was denied by the Temporary Release Committee at the Bare Hill Correctional Facility on the 11th of May, 2007. This denial was based on the nature of the crime that the defendant committed as well as his violent criminal history. This decision was appealed and the central office denied the petitioner’s work release application as well.

Court Decision

The court has reviewed the language that was used to conclude the sentencing of the defendant with DOCS enrollment. A Long Island Criminal Lawyer said it is found that the defendant is limited to phase one of the program based on his crimes and criminal history.

The respondent is not disputing the eligibility of the petitioner in phase one of the program. The respondent does assert that there have been a number of referrals to the program and entry is still discretionary. The respondent requests that the petitioner should not be immediately enrolled in phase one of this program based on the nature of his crimes. He states that the enrollment should take place between six to twelve months before he is released.

The court has reviewed the requests and found that the maximum sentence of the defendant is 2 years. A New York Sex Crimes Lawyer said for these reasons the court orders that the petitioner be placed in the program immediately. The petition is granted to the extent that the petitioner be enrolled in phase one of the CASAT program.

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