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County drug courtroom program hosts drive-through commencement ceremony – Farmington Every day Instances

Joshua Kellogg, Farmington Daily Times
Published 3:56 p.m. MT May 23, 2020


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Six people completed the program on May 21st.

Highlights of History

The goal is to help people who have committed criminal acts Become sober and productive law-abiding citizens, according to the court program website. Customers go through several phases of individual and group therapy sessions as well as community service or working hours during the program. If you or a loved one experience any kind of substance use concerns you can call the New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24-7 at 1-855-662-7474.

AZTEC – Tow truck driver Ira Ridgley had a busy day handling calls while trying to attend his graduation ceremony from the eleventh district court's Adult Drug Court program.

He ended a call five minutes before he was due to start at the Aztec District Court on May 21 as part of a drive-through ceremony in the parking lot in the vehicle.

Ridgley was one of six people who completed the program.

The judge at Daylene Marsh District Court directed the ceremony.

In a telephone interview, she told the Daily Times that parole officers could apply to a drug court for probation for a drug-related case.

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District Judge Daylene Marsh hands over a gift bag and certificate to the Adult Drug Court gradua on May 21 at the Aztec District Court building, Jackson was one of them six graduates who were honored during the ceremony. (Photo: Joshua Kellogg / The Daily Times)

The aim is to help people who have committed crimes be sober and productive to comply with the law Become a citizen, according to the website of the court program.

Clients go through several phases of individual and group therapy sessions as well as during the program community service or working hours.

"It is a very busy time," said Judge Marsh about the coronavirus pandemic. "I wanted to celebrate their success and show the others that they are just starting, this can be done," said Marsh.

Like numerous ceremonies this month, the coronavirus led to additional precautions for the ceremony.

Staff helped organize about 20 vehicles in a straight line to attend the ceremony, and instructed inmates to stay in their vehicles.

Judge Marsh talked about a PA system and after each graduate received their goodie bag and certificate. The cars honk to greet the graduate.

(Photo: Joshua Kellogg / The Daily Times)

Former District Judge John Dean Jr. fired his "Twinkie Cannon" for each graduate and toppled American snack several times during the ceremony. Cake to Heaven.

Ridgley and his graduate Jared Jackson spoke to the Daily Times about completing the drug court, which helped them soberly when they treated their addiction to narcotics and controlled substances.

Jackson described himself as a "hopeless drug addict" was homeless, unemployed, and who – before turning to the drug court program – was not allowed to visit his children.

He has been dealing with opioid addiction since a doctor prescribed an opioid for pain. This addiction prompted him to use methamphetamine for short.

"My life has changed so much. I think if you go for a drug dish and you can try it out, it's worth it," said Jackson.

He works two jobs and is working on completing his GED so that he can pursue a career as a fire investigator.

This was Ridgley's second time before a drug court that had graduated in November 2018. He also struggled with a meth addiction.

He was "clean" about eight months after graduating from college. Since then, he has lost his home, vehicle, and career in vehicle collision repair.

"Addiction took everything from me," said Ridgley.

Ridgley now owns his vehicle and is in the process of closing a house.

He recommends that anyone eligible for a drug court should take part in the program. Ridgley is grateful for the help he has received from the court.

"I want to continue my career, keep sober, raise my children, and be a good husband," said Ridgley.


If you or a loved one have substance use concerns, you can call New Mexico Crisis and Access Line 24-7 at 1-855-662-7474.

Joshua Kellogg reports the latest news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or by email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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