Judiciary asks legislators
for $3.4 million

Included in the request is
$1.8 million to fund neighbor island
drug programs and security

The state Judiciary is asking legislators for $1.8 million to expand drug court programs on Maui and the Big Island and to shore up courtroom security.

The money is part of a $3.4 million supplemental budget request that would raise the Judiciary's fiscal 2005 operating budget to $114.6 million. Court administrators are also seeking an additional $43.5 million in construction spending, most of it for the long-delayed courthouse complex in Hilo.

The Judiciary wants to add a new Circuit Court judge on the Big Island for juvenile drug court; a new senior Family Court judge on Maui for family drug court; support staff for the new judges; substance abuse counselors; and social workers.

State agencies say there is a need for a family drug court on the Valley Isle, said Rick Keller, administrative director of the courts.

"In their filings for CPS (Child Protective Services) cases and their filings for abuse and neglect cases, they learned that there's about 75 to 80 percent of those cases involve substance abuse situations," Keller said.

The only other family drug court in the state is on Oahu, funded by the federal government, Keller said. Oahu and Maui also have juvenile drug courts.

Keller said the Judiciary wants to hire private security guards for Oahu Circuit Court on Punchbowl Street, Honolulu District Court on Alakea Street and Lahaina District Court on Honoapiilani Highway because the Department of Public Safety reduced the number of deputy sheriffs providing security.

The Judiciary also wants private security guards at the Hawaii Drug Court Program offices at 850 Richards St. and Adult Client Services Domestic Violence Unit in Restaurant Row.

Also proposed are security improvements at the Administrative Driver's License Revocation Office at 2875 S. King St. None of the offices have security.

Keller said the type of people going to the License Revocation Office has changed as more people are getting their driver's licenses seized by police for driving under the influence of drugs.

Lawmakers have already approved the sale of $46.75 million in general obligation bonds to pay for the Hilo court complex. The Judiciary has purchased the Kaikoo Mall for the project and has committed other money for the demolition of structures, Keller said. However, it is asking for an additional $41 million for construction.

The courthouse could be up and running in 2007, Keller said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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