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Redwood Falls Gazette - Redwood Falls - MN
  • Court trends show DWI cases are down

  • After 10 months in his new role as Fifth District Court judge in Redwood County, Patrick Rohland reflected on what he has seen and some of his concerns for the future in the county....
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  • After 10 months in his new role as Fifth District Court judge in Redwood County, Patrick Rohland reflected on what he has seen and some of his concerns for the future in the county Tuesday morning with the Red-wood County board. For Rohland, there is good news and bad news, as he said DWI cases seem to be trending down. However, he said another drug is showing up a lot more. “We are seeing de-creases in felony DWIs, which is a good thing,” said Rohland, adding misdemeanor DWIs are down 41 percent from 2004. Rohland said he believes one of the effective measures that has been put in place in the county is the mandatory two-day jail stay for first-time DWI convictions. “The court has taken a hard stance on this and DWI rates have fallen,” said Rohland, adding serving those two days may be a financial burden for the county but it is making a difference. “We are in the minority in the state (when it comes to the mandatory 48-hour stay), but it works,” he added. Accord-ing to Roh-land the bigger issue for the county is heroin use. 
    Rohland said heroin is getting to be a serious issue in Redwood County. He said a few years back it was meth that was being ad-dressed, which was followed by prescription drug use. What they have found now is users have moved on to heroin because it provides the same kind of high one can get from those pain killers, such as Oxycontin at a much cheaper price. The problem, he said, is one does not know where the drug is originating and how potent it might be. “Taking heroin is like a game of Russian roulette,” he said. “We are seeing overdoses. A drug like this really affects every single part of your life.” Heroin use is rising nationally, said Roh-land, and he said the issue of treating it is not the same as one might find in alcoholism. Rohland said he is seeing the kind of difference the drug court program is making in the lives of those who are facing addiction issues, but the problem is determining whether or not a person is dealing with addiction or if there is more of a criminal issue. He said an intervention program like drug court is not going to really help someone who has criminal intent. Rohland said he supports restorative justice programs, including drug court and circle sentencing, because they are dealing with the issues that are behind the crimes. He agrees there appears to be more of a move back toward rehabilitation versus just putting someone in jail, which he said is the right approach.

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