Orange county courts don’t have a reputation for being particularly kind or understanding places. If you are looking for compassion and sensitivity to your needs, court isn’t the first place you would look. However, buried deep inside the court system there is one court that proposes to be just that place.
WIT or Whatever It Takes Court, is just like it sounds, a place where compassion is the order of the day, and defendants in the criminal justice system that are lucky enough to be admitted to WIT are given whatever it takes to help them. So, what does it take to be able to participate in this amazing place? The defendant must be diagnosed with both mental illness and substance abuse. It is common for people with mental health problems to self-medicate by abusing drugs and alcohol. Again, it is not uncommon for these people to commit crimes in order to afford their habits. At last there is a place that wants to help, not just punish, them.
Participants have access to mental health programs, drug and alcohol counselors, and a variety of therapists. Each participant is given a Personal Service Coordinator (PSC) who will provide intensive and personal case management. The goal is to restore each person to be a fully functioning and stable member of society. In order to be admitted to this court, a defendant needs to have a criminal defense lawyer who a) knows that the court even exists and b) knows how to get someone admitted. Unfortunately there are a lot of lawyers out there who are ignorant of the court’s existence, so obviously they aren’t going to be getting their clients the help they need. This is another example that all lawyers are not created equal and the quality of your justice depends, in large measure, on the quality of your lawyer.