Noble County Courts

Noble County Circuit Court

Noble County Drug Court

Drug Courts began operating in the United States in 1989 in Miami, Florida. The Drug Court movement began as an attempt to stop the “revolving door” of the criminal justice system with substance using offenders. Since that time, a great deal of research has been conducted regarding Drug Courts and they have been found to be very effective at reducing recidivism and changing participants’ lives. There are approximately 2,000 drug courts in operation in the United States today, and Noble County is counted among them.

The Noble County Drug Court began in December of 2006. The program has provided a sentencing alternative to the Courts of Noble County. It allows the opportunity for offenders who have a drug addiction to enter treatment, be held accountable for their actions and become productive members of our community. As of April 1, 2015, seventy-five (75) participants have graduated from Noble County Drug Court. Noble County Drug Court is certified by the Indiana Judicial Center and in November of 2013 received a three year certification.

Drug Court is a multi-jurisdictional team of professionals who have come together to work with the drug offenders in our community. The program is 16 to 30 months of intensive supervision through the probation department. The offender completes comprehensive drug treatment, is under close supervision by a probation officer, and has full accountability and frequent contact with the drug court judge and drug court team members. Participants are also required to attend support group meetings. Incentives are used to encourage participants to continue to make progress in the program. Immediate sanctions are used when an offender violates one of the terms of their participation agreement. Offenders are also drug screened frequently and randomly while in the program to monitor drug use and relapse. Offenders who meet the eligibility criteria can enter the program as a result of a new offense or a community supervision violation. They are referred by a judge, prosecuting attorney, probation officer or attorney.

The following charges are eligible for drug court:

  • Possession of Marijuana, Misdemeanor or Felony
  • Possession of Cocaine, narcotic drug, Methamphetamine, Schedule I, II, III or IV controlled substance, Marijuana, Hash oil or Hashish, B, C, or D Felony. Level 6, 5 ,4, or 3 Felony
  • Offenses not excluded in the list below, in which the use of drugs or alcohol was a contributing factor of the offense
  • Offenses related to Possession of Precursors, Distribution, Cultivation, or Manufacturing of Drugs will onely be considered with approval from the Noble County Prosecutor's Office.

The following charges are not eligible for a drug court referral

  • Class A Felony, Level 1 or Level 2
  • Forcible felonies
  • Offenders who have pending charges in another jurisdiction
  • Offenders who are currently on probation in another county
  • OWI charges

The Drug Court Team also considers the following prior to accepting someone into the program:

  • Participant willingness and motivation to comply
  • Participant is able to physically participate in the program (within the guidelines of ADA)
  • Participant meets clinical criteria for substance abuse or dependence
  • Participant is able to pay restitution and fees within the time frame of the program.

Once the participant completes the program they will either have their charge(s) dismissed (if it is a first time felony or misdemeanor), their felony reduced to a misdemeanor, or they will not serve any or additional time in the Indiana Department of Correction. The participant gains the skills and information needed to maintain a drug and crime free lifestyle, and to become a contributing member of our community.

The Probation Officers who work with Drug Court include: Danyel Wagner, Leah Fisher, Landon Wheeler, Michelle Fosnaugh, jared Owen, and Ryan Hull. Other members of the Drug Court Team include: Judge Michael Kramer, Noble Superior court, Division 2; Wendy Gensch, Noble county Deputy Prosecutor; Kathryn Byrom, Public Defender; and members of Bowen Center, Noretheastern Center, noble House Ministries, Noble County Sheriff's Department, Avilla Police Department, Kendallville Police Department, and Ligonier Police Department.

Rigorous studies examining long-term outcomes of individual Drug Courts have found that reductions in crime last at least three (3) years and can endure for over fourteen (14) years. Nationwide, 75% of Drug Court graduates remain arrest-free at least two (2) years after leaving the program. Nationwide, for every $1.00 invested in Drug Court, taxpayers save as much as $3.36 in avoided criminal justice cost alone. When considering other cost offsets, such as savings from reduced victimization and healthcare service utilization, studies have shown benefits range up to $27.00 for every $1.00 invested. For methamphetamine-addicted people, Drug Court increases treatment program graduation rates by nearly 80% and when compared to eight other programs, Drug Courts quadrupled the length of abstinence from methamphetamine (

Links to gain more information about Court Alcohol and Drug Programs in Indiana and Drug Courts include: SAMHSA, NIDA , NADCP, Indiana Judicial Center

The drug court has been praised by those in the community.

Judge Michael J. Kramer states, “It is gratifying to see the participants each week as they overcome long-term addictions, rebuild their lives, stop using illegal drugs, start jobs, and become productive and producing citizens.”

Chief Public Defender, James Abbs states, “Drug Court is the first program that is truly attempting to rehabilitate its participants within the criminal justice system. Noble County now has a program that is dealing with the drug problem…It is a benefit to both the participants and the community.”