Maui News

Maui Drug Court Graduate: “It’s Much Easier to Carry Love Than Hate”

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From left: Paul Tonnessen (Friends of the Children Justice Center); Presiding Judges of FCDC Adrianne Heely and Lloyd Poelman; Samuel August, Deputy Public Defender; Julie Kean, Intensive Family Therapist; graduate Spring Taylor and her mother, Danita Lum, Michelle Boughner, FCDC Coordinator; and Charnell Casil, FCDC Social Worker. Photo courtesy: Hawai’i State Judiciary.

Resident, Spring Taylor was among the 33rd graduating class of the Family Court Drug Court on Maui.  In reflecting upon her experience, Taylor said, “I’ve learned to love my scars by forgiving those who gave them to me, including myself because it is much easier to carry love than hate.”

She was joined at the ceremony by her mom, Danita Lum, and a host of family, friends, and supporters from the FCDC team and fellow participants.

Second Circuit FCDC Judge Adrianne Heely presided over the ceremony, joined by FCDC Judge Lloyd Poelman. “Each and every one here today is critical to giving FCDC graduates an opportunity to address their substance use disorder, to work on reunification of their families, and to become productive citizens,” said Judge Heely.

“This graduation is a powerful opportunity for all of us to show our gratitude for the graduates and your commitment to FCDC. Drug Courts are the most successful justice program for reducing addiction, crime, and recidivism, while saving taxpayer dollars and helping participants, their families and our communities that we live in. Research continues to show that treatment courts work better than jail or prison, better than probation and better than treatment alone,” she said.

The following individuals and organizations were recognized by the judiciary for the important roles they play in the program’s success:


Marsha Yamada, Deputy Chief Court Administrator; Meridith Russell, Juvenile Client and Family Services Branch Supervisor and all of the JCSFB’s probation and intake officers; Kawika Ortiz, Social Worker, with the Special Services Branch; Malia Ferreira, Court Clerk and Bailiff Supervisor; Court Clerks Alicia Allagonez, Bernie Cummings, Virginia Freitas, and Michelle Cabaccang; Volunteer/Law Intern Kaleileihua Cabanes; Ed Menor Deputy Attorney General; Samuel August, Deputy Public Defender; Leslie Armstrong, CWS Supervisor; Lisa Leval, Guardian Ad Litem; Kai DuPonte, Court Appointed Special Advocate; Ann Van Patten, Aloha House, IFT Supervisor; IFT Therapists Jule Kean, Shelly Brown & Ariell Nash; Lisa Ponichtera, Malama Clinical Director; Serlinda Soukon, Malama Counselor; Geoff Kirkland and Shelle Kuanono, Aloha House Program Directors; Stacy Moniz, Maui Farm Director; Parents and Children Together (PACT), and Women Helping Women.

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