Hometown Hero: Judge Charles Auslander, State Court of Athens-Clarke County

By February 24, 2020News

Courthouses hold a unique place in any community. For some, they signify justice and redemption, but for others, they signify a place of struggle during tough times.

Chuck Auslander, Judge of the State Court of Athens-Clarke County, said “the biggest misconception that I encounter is that people think that our courts only focus on sending people to jail. In reality, our focus is on changing behavior, improving the lives of those who appear in front of us, and community safety.”

Judge Auslander graduated from Law School at UGA and, in 2005, he began working with the DUI Treatment Court team. Treatment courts provide participants with treatment for substance use and mental health disorders combined with accountability.

They use a rehabilitative model that focuses on resolving the issues that led to a person’s behavior instead of punishing the behavior alone. It is the best-studied and most effective court intervention strategy that changes behavior, reduces recidivism, and makes the community safer.

The NCDC identifies four exemplary DWI courts to serve as a national model, host trainings, give site visits, and participate in research and media spotlights.

 

In 2019, the State Court of Athens-Clarke County was evaluated by the experts in the treatment court field and was recognized as one of four Academy Courts by the National Center for DWI Courts (NCDC). This is the highest honor a treatment court can receive and means that Athens will continue to serve as a national training site.

The court welcomes the community to celebrate this achievement at 10:30 am on Friday, February 28 at the Clarke County Courthouse. The event will include an award ceremony and two speakers: Mayor Kelly Girtz and Presiding Judge Sara Doyle of the Georgia Court of Appeals. All are invited and there will be a reception following the event.

The NCDC identifies four exemplary DWI courts to serve as a national model, host trainings, give site visits, and participate in research and media spotlights.

 

This award and the court’s success was due in large part to the community organizations, such as Advantage, that raise awareness and reduce the stigma of these health conditions. These organizations help provide individuals with the assistance they need to change behavior and improve safety.

“The success of the courts and our processes are attributable to the resources available in our community. We owe a great debt of gratitude to those organizations,” said Judge Auslander.

The NCDC identifies four exemplary DWI courts to serve as a national model, host trainings, give site visits, and participate in research and media spotlights.

 

Much of what the DUI Treatment Court team does each day is to try to figure out how to best respond to behavior to keep the community safe and keep an individual from repeating bad decisions. Judge Auslander believes “a person should not be defined by their past. No matter a person’s previous decisions, every person has great value and should have the opportunity to live up to their full potential.”

Judge Chuck Auslander and the rest of the DUI Treatment Court team are helping to uphold the mission of the courts: to serve ALL people. Thank you all for making our judicial system a more just place for everyone in the community.

 

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