Christian Court Watchers Keep Tabs On Judges

MANCHESTER, Ky. (AP) - A handful of mountain churches are moving away from their traditional role as a refuge for the poor and addicted. They've become frustrated with widespread drug abuse - especially of easily accessible prescription painkillers. Now they're more interested in law enforcement.

The Community Church of Manchester, southeastern Kentucky, is leading the way through "Court Watch," a program in which volunteers attend court hearings to monitor judges overseeing drug-related cases.

Community Church pastor, the Reverend Doug Abner says the presence of Court Watch volunteers puts "mild pressure" on judges "to do the right thing."

Some other people of faith say the program cuts against Christian values.

Director of the Catholic Committee on Appalachia, the Reverend John Rausch says churches should focus on drug counseling and ministering to inmates.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by CommonSense Location: Southern Kentucky on Jul 20, 2007 at 10:55 AM
    This exactly what needs to be done in all Counties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. We have laws on the books that could severly curb the drug problem in this state if only the Judges would do the job they were elected to do. Plea bargaining is a often used tecnique to speed cases along in the court system, too often is a method for bypassing the intent of the laws that were enacted. Judges are supposed to be impartial and administer the law, however much too often they allow the prosecutor and the defense lawyers to mitigate behind closed doors and allow what ever agreement they arrive with to be the final say on the outcome of the case. A judge should review every case coming before them and if it's determined this is a repeat offender, not allow the plea bargain to take place. A judge has the final perogative to force a trial if they feel justice is not being served by the plea bargain process. The prosecuting attorneys also need to be held accountable for the lax way they approach drug offenses in the Court system. They are also elected officials and can be replaced at the election polls.
  • by Tammy Location: Clay Co. on Jul 20, 2007 at 07:02 AM
    It is about time these judges do the right thing. I'm glad someone is watching them and trying to get them to do the right thing. Should have been doing that a longggggg...time ago. Punishing drug addicts with only a slight slap on the wrist, sweeping drugs/crime under the rugs! Then they wonder why things are so bad. Heck, criminals know they have nothing to worry about, the law is as crooked as they ever thought about being. Come on people get real, things need to change. My goodness, open your eyes.
  • by Annis Location: Lancaster on Jul 20, 2007 at 06:37 AM
    I hope this will help rrid communities of or at least help with the drug problems. Someone need to step up and help
  • by unnamed Location: Corbin on Jul 20, 2007 at 05:04 AM
    Please tell me the ones who are watching and passing judgement on the judges have a law degree...if not...what is the point.
  • by Carol Location: KY on Jul 19, 2007 at 03:07 PM
    Perhaps a less inflammatory headline could have been given to this story! People would probably still have read it even if the headline was objective, as journalism is supposed to be! Anyway, I think the court watch program is really about offering emotional support for the legal system, as well as having the opportunity to minister/counsel with inmates. It is not meant to be threatening to judges, or accusatory, but to give christian support to even judges who are often faced with lots of outside pressures to do something other than the right thing. I respectfully disagree with anyone who believes that "the program cuts against Christian values"....rather I think it only helps to reinforce Christian values of being loving, kind, compassionate, respectful, etc...
  • by Anonymous on Jul 19, 2007 at 01:47 PM
    While this is a good idea, it sounds to me like this church or group of churches are no longer going to those in need. I agree with Rev. John Rausch in that the focus should be on drug counseling and ministry. It is not the churches job to "police" the courts. There are other official offices for that duty.


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