Spanish-language DUI court receives award
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 15, 2005
The National Association of
Counties has presented Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell a special
achievement award for the Spanish DUI Court Program. This annual achievement
award program recognizes innovative county programs across the nation.
Maricopa County Superior Court started a DUI court program in 1998. The program
added a Spanish-language DUI court in 2002. Defendants are routed to this court
based on their need for interpreter services during the pretrial stages of their
Participants enter the program after they have been convicted and sentenced by a
Superior Court Judge for felony DUI. In addition to standard conditions of
probation, their assignment to DUI court includes enhancements including monthly
appearances before the judge, an alcohol monitoring ankle bracelet and a 60-day
deferred jail term.
A team of DUI court professionals monitors the progress of each defendant
accepted into the program every five weeks just before the court session. The
team includes Mundell, the county attorney, the public defender, adult probation
and a counseling treatment specialist. All team members speak Spanish.
The average Spanish DUI court participant is more likely to graduate than
participants in the English DUI court, and more likely to graduate sooner. About
88 percent of Spanish participants graduate, usually after one year, while only
66 percent of English-speaking participants graduate, usually after 17 months.