A FAMILY OF LAWYERS
May 25, 2013: Reverend Rob Dewey introduced our Keynote speaker, Judge Bruce “Brucie” Howe Hendricks. Judge Hendricks, a native Charlestonian, is a Federal Magistrate Judge. Prior to her appointment to the Federal Bench, she served as an Assistant United States Attorney. She spends most of her time handling Criminal Matters as directed by the District Judges. She earned her Juris Doctor degree from The University of South Carolina School of Law and is married to Teddy Hendricks. Judge Hendricks and Teddy have two children, a daughter who is studying for the Bar Exam and a son who is studying for the LSAT.
Judge Hendricks commenced her remarks by praising the work of Reverend Rob Dewey and his accomplishments with Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy.
Judge Hendricks grew up in a family of lawyers: “One of the things I learned growing up in a family of lawyers is that we are guardians of others. We have thoughtful concern for one another and we are service professionals. An ideal lawyer is a collegial one, one that serves other lawyers in need and slows down to help.”
Judge Hendricks brought up the “good ole days,” when friends actually took time to visit and converse. She referred to it as a “quieter, gentler time.” Judge Hendricks believes those days of social gatherings with colleagues should not end and that we should appreciate each other both personally and professionally. She mentioned the importance of friendship with both peers and elders and emphasized not forgetting about personal touches.
Judge Hendricks learned from her family, the role of lawyers in society. “Law touches every aspect of our lives. Whether we buy a car, travel, turn on a light, or cross the street – we are all consumers of the law, because everything we do is affected by the law.”
In October of 2004, the Post and Courier published an article which discussed Judge Hendricks’ father, Arthur G. Howe, and his role as former Ninth Circuit Solicitor. The article emphasized his protection of the innocent and prosecution of the guilty. Rumor has it that her father would take fruit baskets to men whom he had prosecuted. Judge Hendricks feels that her dad taught her compassion and not to kick people when they are down.
Judge Hendricks started The BRIDGE Program, which is one of the nation’s first Federal pre-conviction drug courts. Judge Norton and Judge Duffy asked Judge Hendricks to help facilitate this program which seeks to identify criminal defendants whose criminal activity is related to substance and/or drug abuse.
The Program is unique in that it builds a close collaborative relationship between a team of criminal justice and drug treatment professionals. If the team approves, the criminal defendant can voluntarily participate in the program which involves weekly and intensive drug and alcohol screens, weekly appearances in court to report their progress, and participation in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. By helping to break the cycle of criminal behavior, alcohol and drug use, and incarceration, the Program ultimately reduces crime by lowering re-arrest and conviction rates, improving substance abuse treatment outcomes, reuniting families, and finally producing measurable cost benefits. We are saving $2.21 for every $1.00 spent on Drug Court, which is a 221% return. Judge Hendricks states, “The cold hard truth is that Drug Court saves money. Prosecution is expensive. Jail is expensive. Rehabilitation saves money.”
Reported by Molly Blatt (guest of Abby Edwards Saunders)