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Special Programs

Special Programs

Special programs and activities are designed to improve the quality and advance the consistent, independent, impartial, and accessible administration of justice in Santa Barbara.

Please click on any of the topics and links for more information about Special Programs and other court services.

  • CADRe (Court Administered Dispute Resolution)
  • CMADRESS (Case Management ADR Early Settlement Session)

Program Purpose

The purpose of this program is to assist in the recruitment and development of a qualified, inclusive and diverse judicial applicant pool. This much-needed program was designed by judges in collaboration with the Office of Governor Gavin Newsom. The program is designed to identify, encourage and provide mentors for all individuals considering a judicial career. One of the chief goals is to communicate to all sectors of the legal community the uniform message of Governor Newsom's judicial criteria and commitment to appointing a capable bench reflective of California's rich diversity.

How Does It Work?

This two-part program consists of a one-on-one mentor committee and a community outreach/recruitment committee.

Mentor Committee

Many judges have devoted time to the important work of mentoring persons interested in applying to the bench and this program will encourage them to continue and expand their efforts. The Presiding Judge has appointed a formal panel of mentor judges who will be available to anyone seeking guidance in applying to the bench. The role of the mentor judges is not to select or recommend candidates; but rather to demystify the application and vetting process.

Attorneys who are current active members in good standing with the State Bar or California, and who have been admitted to practice law in California for at least 10 years are invited to apply. Participation in the mentor program is not a guarantee of appointment nor will it result in any preference for appointment.

Interested individuals may apply by submitting an application. Participants will be paired with a mentor judge who will discuss the prospective applicant's career objectives, answer questions regarding the application and vetting process, and be available to assist in providing input as the candidate completes the application. The number of participants is limited on the availability of judicial mentors. Please note that attorneys who have submitted an application for judicial appointment are not eligible for the program.

Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee will work with all sectors of the legal community, including bar associations, public interest organizations, government attorneys, private law firms and solo practitioners. The goals of this outreach effort are to:

  • Inform members of the legal community of the program;
  • Disseminate consistent information regarding the Governor's judicial criteria; and
  • Identify and encourage individuals in a position to assist in recruiting possible candidates for the bench.

Collaboration With Bar Groups

The Mentor Committee will coordinate with bar organizations that already have judicial recruitment programs. Affinity bar leaders have uniformly indicated their desire to work with the Court to make the mentor panel the endpoint of bar recruitment pipelines. The committee will work with bar organizations to formalize a mentoring process that results in one-on-one mentoring with judges.

The Outreach Committee will work with local bar groups, including affinity bar associations, to formalize a recruitment process that results in one-on-one mentoring with judges.

The program is not intended to supplant existing bar programs but to complement these efforts by providing bar associations with current insight into the Governor's judicial qualifications and priorities.

If you need additional information, please contact Torey Winn at

Substance Abuse Treatment Court

The federal and California state governments are jointly promoting the expansion of "drug treatment courts". Drug courts combine the close supervision of the judicial process with resources available through alcohol and drug treatment services. The goal is to reduce recidivism by maintaining drug offenders in a highly structured treatment setting until they establish a firm foundation for a clean and sober lifestyle.

Santa Barbara created the pre-conviction Substance Abuse Treatment Court (SATC) in March 1995. This program allows serious drug offenders to engage in 18 months of supervised treatment under a single treatment provider to earn a dismissal of the charge. The post-conviction Clean and Sober Calendar has been in operation since November 1994. This program allows convicted probationers to engage in 12 months of supervised treatment offered by a number of community based treatment providers as an alternative to jail time.

Eligibility and Evaluation:

Drug court programs are for non-violent offenders with felony or misdemeanor charges who demonstrate patterns of drug addiction or alcoholism. They are identified early in the court process by very experienced probation officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys and judges as potential program participants. Defendants charged with drug possession, use of controlled substances, or with other non-violent offenses, such as theft, are considered for drug court programs if comprehensive assessment determines that serious substance abuse is a root cause of their criminal behavior.

Under the Clean and Sober program, the offender pleads guilty and engages in court monitored treatment as a term and condition of probation. In the SATC program, the defendant waives the right to have a jury trial before entering treatment. The offender agrees that failure in the treatment program will result in a trial where the judge only has to read the police report to determine whether or not the defendant is guilty. A treatment plan is developed for each participant which involves individual and group counseling, frequent drug testing, acupuncture to reduce cravings, regular AA or NA meetings and weekly court appearances.

To graduate, a defendant must complete the entire course of treatment and must have had no dirty tests or program violations for at least 6 months. Any failure in programming or dirty test is dealt with by use of graduated sanctions, from increased intensity of programming to incarceration. The Sheriff's Department has created the in-jail Sheriff's Treatment Program, where a problem participant might be sent for 30, 60 or 90 days of inpatient treatment.

One way to ensure continued community involvement is for the courts to consider initiating, maintaining, or enhancing court community outreach programs. There are many types of outreach programs that can help inform and involve the public.

Community Outreach Programs in California:

  • Community Outreach
    The California Courts and the Judicial Council recognize the importance of listening to the public. Efforts to improve the courts are ongoing, and engaging with court leaders and surveying the general public are top priorities.  See below for more information on recent projects and how the Courts are helping and listening to you.
  • Courthouse tours:
    Free docent tours are conducted at 2pm daily except on Sunday. Additional tours are conducted at 10:30am on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. Please contact the docents at (805) 962-6464 for further information.

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