American Judges Association



Date of this Version



Court Review, Volume 52, Issue 1 (2016)


Copyright American Judges Association. Used by permission.


In this issue, we present the latest American Judges Association white paper. Written by last year’s AJA president, Brian MacKenzie, the paper explores the role of the judge in a drug-treatment court. Based on his own experience as a drug-court judge and data from other studies, he argues that the judge is the key to drug-court success and that the successful drug-court judge must practice the principles of procedural fairness. MacKenzie’s paper thus builds on the AJA’s first white paper—a 2007 paper on procedural fairness. We hope you’ll take a look at MacKenzie’s paper as well as the past AJA white papers (listed, with links to each paper, at page 35, immediately following the latest white paper).

Two related articles are included in the issue. First, Nebraska judge Roger Heideman and several researchers provide an in-depth look at a Nebraska family court that has initiated a drug-treatment track for parents in cases in which parental rights might be terminated. Drug treatment is one important way some parents may be able to reunite with their children, and the Nebraska court has set up a mandatory drug-treatment track for some parents—those in cases in which parental substance abuse is identified in the affidavit supporting removal of a child from the parent’s home. Judge Heideman and his coauthors present data on the first 42 families to participate in this program and comment on the lessons that other courts might learn from their experience.