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  • Bill Raines

Lawrence County Justice Study: Juvenile Referee Anah Gouty

Lawrence County Zephyr

By:Bill Raines

LAWRENCE COUNTY - (December 3, 2021) - The Lawrence County Justice Study was requested by the Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham. We have heard from all three Lawrence County Judges, and we will summarize their comments in another feature.

Today we will hear Anah Gouty comments on the Lawrence County Justice Study.

According to Gouty there is likely going to be an Amendment to Administrative Rule 14 which allows the courts to conduct hearing remotely which will mean fewer in person hearings than prior to the pandemic.

In Senate Bill 368 makes it clear that juveniles cannot be housed in adult jails and Lawrence County never has done this in the past.

Gouty states the local public defender agency is offering higher pay for public defenders and in turn pay parity with the prosecutor attorney office and deputy prosecutor attorneys. " I think this will help our justice system tremendously and help process cases faster," said Gouty

To use alternative methods to keep youth out of detention includes informal adjustments, and now the JDAI county the goal is to reduce unnecessary detention of juveniles this should result in fewer pick-up orders and transports to detention facilities, Community Corrections may have to supervise more juveniles on home detention as an alternate to detention.

There is a total of 19 probation officers in Lawrence County with a total of only 5 who are paid from the Lawrence County General Fund, the remainder are paid by grant funding which has been a tax savings to the county taxpayer.

The Lawrence County Prosecutors office has a new program regarding specialized driving privileges. Lawrence County has a Juvenile Problem-Solving court which also has helped keep juveniles out of facilities.

" On my caseload I only incarcerate adults for a sanction due to Indirect contempt of court for failure to appear for hearing after given proper notice, or sanction in juvenile problem-solving court as a result of direct contempt of court which I have never done," said Gouty.

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