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Old 03-25-2008, 08:07 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Change is in the Air

Although AA is mandated in many parts of the country, there are several on going lawsuits that may stem the tide of court ordered attendees, here's a case study:

firstamendmentcenter.org: news
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Old 03-29-2008, 08:24 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I don't understand why the Courts think they have the right to use A.A. as a resource to begin with. Wouldn't it be like ordering a juvenile offender to join the Boy Scouts?
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:18 AM   #23 (permalink)
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court ordering

Court ordering is not a new thing. In the early 1940's many courts ordered repeat offenders from the "work house" to attend AA meetings. The reasons these folks were in the work house was due to alcohol related offenses.

As to being court ordered today, there have been many court cases finding for the litigant and saying that ordering people to AA violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. R. Warner v The Orange County (NY) Department of Probation was one of these cases. It (and in other cases) was ruled that AA was religious in nature and as Mr. Warner did not want to attend any religious based programs he couldn't be forced to. Alternative type programs and/or therapies if available should be offered. Warner versus Orange

Another litigation (DeStefano v Emergency Housing Group et al) again brought up the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This litigation again found that AA was a religious activity and resulted in an edict from the NYS Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) barring any coerced or forced attendance at AA meetings at any NYS licensed facility. The link to the OASAS Bulletin is OASAS Local Services Bulletin No. 2002-05

I believe that AA membership should be voluntary as our Traditions state AA should be open to all who SEEK to recover. The Traditions also state that the ONLY requirement for AA membership is a DESIRE to stop drinking. Those who are mandated often are not seeking recovery nor do they have a desire to stop. Regardless of any positive outcomes, Traditions are being violated.

The caveat here is that in most areas there are no alternatives to AA and this is not AA's fault or responsibility to provide alternatives. Therefore, people who do not want to be forced into AA meetings when sentenced to and there are no alternatives should, serve their time in a correctional facility. Folks should have a choice. It is the responsibility of those providing alternatives to 12 Step to make those alternatives available to the same extent as AA is available. It is not the responsibility of the States, Counties, Cities or Towns and certainly not the responsibility of AA.
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Old 04-13-2008, 07:16 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Not all AA groups sign court or medical cards
It's a matter for GC.

If a member of AA finds signing such cards
against their personal beliefs ..they need not sign.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:09 AM   #25 (permalink)
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We have a lot of court ordered folks. I would say about 10-15% at any given meeting. I tell them if they don't want to be here that there is a solution. I suggest that they go tell the judge to take those AA meetings and the papers they have to sign and stick them up his a$$. They will no longer have to attend AA.
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Old 04-13-2008, 08:23 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Fwiw,

I believe there is NO Criminal Court in the United States that can order anyone to go to AA absent the offender’s agreement – and parolees have significantly less constitutional rights than non-felons. Of course, the case Rob cited is a Ninth Circuit case, and its decision applies only to those Courts within it’s jurisdiction (thus far; this includes all of California). Only once the Supreme Court of the United States makes such a ruling will it apply nationwide (unless each of the Circuit Courts make the same ruling independent of the Supreme Court and these decisions are not over turned by Supreme Court).

However, AA may be provided as an option to those punishments prescribed by a State’s Penal Code (providing the punishment fits the crime) in those jurisdictions whose courts have not ruled this a form of “Religious Coercion,” thereby finding it to violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the US Constitution.

So, even in those jurisdictions that allow AA as an alternative, it is always a choice. The offender may always choose the Penal Code’s prescribed punishment for the crime of which he has pled, or been found, guilty.

Personally, I want to say that I prefer that offenders be informed about AA, but not given it an option in lieu of the prescribed punishment, because all but the most indignant offender will choose to go to AA over going to jail – not to get sober, but because it is “easier time.” But then if someone gets it because they chose AA over jail, then maybe it’s worth allowing those with no desire to stop drinking into “open” AA meetings.
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Old 04-13-2008, 09:13 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Every man and woman has what seems an infinite number choices for the decisions each makes daily. No one is forced to AA. It may appear that way, yet no one is made to sit in our meetings, ever. Courts may order, but what impact does this have on your independent Home Group or for that matter the individual so ordered? The Home Group’s conscious is the deciding force behind the routine and management of any AA group and rightly should be the last word in governance of that individual group.

A Home Group's, Group Conscious meeting could easily move to no longer sign attendance court-ordered sign offs. As a member of my Home Group, I can move at the next regularly scheduled meeting to disallow the signing of court slips; a vote would be taken and the procedure would either pass or fail. This is the process in which we make change or not in the group. What recourse would the Court or the court-ordered individual have if a particular meeting no longer responded to this type of order?

Each AA meeting is an independent entity. The Fourth Tradition is quite clear on this; “Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.” As a Home Group, we the members manage ourselves according to our ESH on how best to follow the AA Traditions and that is all. If a particular meeting makes the decision to end the signing of court-ordered slips would it impact AA as a whole?

For example, a new meeting is started by AA members and the format is a Closed Women’s Big Book meeting on Tuesday nights at the home of one of the members. The group conscious of this meeting has dominion over the format. So if a man seeking the message of hope comes to this meeting and is turned away, what is the impact? It is my thought that there is no impact on the man or the group except embarrassment for the man and inconvenience for the group. This individual group is not compelled to allow men at their meetings, nor is any group compelled to allow court-ordered slips to be signed.

Regardless of which side of this issue you stand on or for that matter any issue affecting your AA Home Group the right place to govern issues is in the Home Group, Group Conscious meeting. The mechanism for change in your AA Home Group is right in front of each of us if we choose to use it.
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Old 04-14-2008, 09:57 PM   #28 (permalink)
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You can always just forge the AA paperwork.
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Old 04-15-2008, 02:50 AM   #29 (permalink)
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You can always just forge the AA paperwork.
Yep, I have heard of folks actually telling someone who did not want to be there that they could do that, I have also been to a meeting where the chair offered to sign any court ordered papers at the beginning of the meeting for anyone who did not want to be there.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:21 AM   #30 (permalink)
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You can always just forge the AA paperwork.
Yes, but doing so subjects you to contempt of court, revocation of your probation, and possible jail time. It may be hard to get caught, but if you do, the judge will probably be really pissed off.
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Old 04-15-2008, 08:32 AM   #31 (permalink)
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We have a guy who did get caught by a judge up north who was in AA, hey screwed up and said he was at a meeting that was the judges home group!!!! LOL Did I mention he has been sober for like 5 years now!
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Old 04-15-2008, 01:06 PM   #32 (permalink)
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We don't get a lot of court ordered people at meetings I go to. I know we have a special drug/alcohol probation where people are mandated to a recovery house. I have a friend that just received that type of probation. He was facing 2-5 years in prison otherwise. Yikes! He tells me it is very strict and he's complaining but I believe it's better than prison.

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Old 04-15-2008, 02:55 PM   #33 (permalink)
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A funny thing about forging the court papers. A guy went to his Probation Officer with his fully signed sheets. She looked them over very carefully and excused herself from the room for a moment. She came back with another officer who placed cuffs on the startled probationer. As he was about to be led away he asked why? She told him that he violated his terms of probation by lying. He told her that the sheets were all filled out properly. She pointed to a particular entry and asked again - "Did you attend this meeting that night?" He swore up and down that he did on his mother's grave. She smiled and told him that she was a member of that group and he wasn't there that night. She also told him that when he got out after he served his time, she hoped that he would have learned his lesson about lying and that there are times when those lies come up and bit you big time.

True story... The PO told it to me while we were having a meeting after the meeting.
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Old 04-16-2008, 10:21 PM   #34 (permalink)
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In Cook County where I live it is very difficult to violate probation. Cook County jail is one of the most overcrowded, violent jails in the country. I
was in that rat hole for 10 days and must admit it was the worst experience of my life. I know of someone who tested positive for cocaine on 4 of his 6 drug screens and managed to stay out of jail! The judge told him he was making progress my passing 2 of them! Anyways the post about ordering juvenile offenders to Boy Scouts made me laugh.


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Old 04-17-2008, 04:34 AM   #35 (permalink)
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It is still ordered in MT.

And -

people more often come cuz they're scared of being convicted.
so they bring their little papers and hope showing their 'dedication ' to a judge will keep them out of jail.

They go to court - then we never see them again.

There's also others whose terms of probation and even parole -
require them to attend meetings. Some drug convicted people in pre-release - are also required to attend so many per month.

But then ... Montana - we kinda make our own rulez.
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Old 04-17-2008, 08:24 AM   #36 (permalink)
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It appears that parolees cannot be ordered in Montana anymore according to the recent Ninth Circuit ruling that finds it unconstitutional. I haven’t read the case, so I can’t verify it; but see Rob B’s post above, and the link he posted in it.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:00 PM   #37 (permalink)
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They might not be able to 'order' it - but they can sure make your life a misery ... if you don't.

IT's a Montana thing.
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Old 04-18-2008, 08:24 AM   #38 (permalink)
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It appears a fairly recent decision. Itíll be interesting to see what happens, especially as other districts are faced with the issue.
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:54 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Question Lost court card

I was court-ordered to attend 20 A.A. meetings. I had 14 or 15 signatures on my card. Sometime last night after attending a meeting, I lost my card. Looked all over the meeting place, but no luck. I called the court clerk to find out what I needed to do. She said she had never heard of that happening in the 20 years she's been clerk. Ok, so I'm the first idiot ever to lose the card. The best she could offer was, "Tell it to the judge," on May 5, when I return to court with what should be my completed card.

Does anyone have experience with this. Now what do I do?

Thanks in advance for any help that can be offered.
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Old 04-23-2010, 11:02 AM   #40 (permalink)
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May 5th - That's 12 days for 20 meetings. Do you have a sponsor? Get a sponsor and see if you can do one meeting a day and meet with her to make up for the other 8. ?
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