Misdemeanor drug court coming to Warren County this July

Warren County Judge Kim Geoghegan develops opportunity to expunge misdemeanors

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Warren County currently offers a drug court program for felony offenders, but none for misdemeanors.

One district court judge is trying to change that.

Warren County District Court Judge Kim Geoghegan has seen drug ruin lives time and time again over her 25 years as an assistant Commonwealth attorney in Warren County.

“The majority of cases that we see coming through both district and circuit court, there’s an additional need for help to be provided for people who are suffering with mental illness,” said Geoghegan.

Now, one year into her term in District Court, Geoghegan is doing something about it.

This July, Geoghegan will introduce a misdemeanor drug court in Warren District Court Division 1. 

“I believe early intervention would help us lower the rate of recidivism in our cases,” said Geoghegan.

The misdemeanor drug court will be a 15-month-long intensive treatment program. Participants are required to maintain employment or be a full time student. They’ll have to attend drug treatment and meet weekly with the drug court staff or with a judge.

“One of the big benefits of a misdemeanor drug court program is that at the end of the program, the record is expunged for that misdemeanor offense,” Geoghegan informed. “We’re hoping that will lead to better employment opportunities for the individual.”

Currently, it would take seven years to have this same record expunged.   

Goghegen says there’s already proof that accountability leads to results, much like in Alcoholics Anonymous. 

“We’ve seen through other programs that people are more successful when there’s some supervision and additional services offered,” she noted.

The Warren County Sheriff’s Office and LifeSkills both expend many resources to help people with drug addictions.

Sheriff Brett Hightower said, “If [drug addiction is] not dealt with appropriately, what you start to see is more homelessness. You start to see more mental health crises.”

LifeSkills’ Melanie Watts said, “Anytime you introduce a community service that addresses an issue, that’s a win…. Anything like this would help, not only all of our mental health departments [and] all of our mental health services, but the community in general.”

Hightower and Watts both support the misdemeanor drug court. 

Geoghegan hopes this is a first step toward lowering Western State Hospital’s high rates of recidivism.