Judicial Ethics

Jury's Out on Drug Court Judge's Legacy

A community in suburban Chicago is divided over a drug court judge who saw amazing successes, a record that some say is the result of bullying and improper tactics.

Supporters say Judge Jim Doyle worked tirelessly to nudge drug-addicted suspects to reform, helping turn around the lives of thieves and prostitutes. “I believed in it,” Doyle told the Chicago Tribune magazine. “I believed in the kids and I saw the results.”

But state investigators viewed Doyle differently, claiming he coerced some to participate in what was supposed to be a voluntary program, and improperly threatened those who didn’t cooperate, the magazine says.

“The paradox of Judge Jim Doyle is that both views might be true,” the magazine reports. “Through the force of his devotion, he helped save many a soul blistered by narcotics. His downfall was trying to save them all.”

Doyle avoided a disciplinary hearing when he retired from the bench last year.

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