LASER Participant Overview
By standing order, dated April 9, 2010, the Court authorized the creation of a pilot LASER Docket Program and named Chief Judge Laplante the supervisory judge for the program. The LASER Docket is a court rehabilitative program for those defendants/offenders whose qualifying crimes/criminal history are attributable to drug abuse and/or addiction. A collaborative effort among the United States District Court (USDC), United States Attorney's Office (USAO), United States Probation Office (USPO), and the criminal defense bar, the LASER Docket requires that participants adapt to law-abiding, sober, employed and responsible lifestyles.
The LASER Docket is a four-phase program that runs at least 12 months. Each phase entails specific goals with a number of distinct, achievable expectations that are consistent with each stage of recovery. Successful participants gain an understanding of the process of addiction, recognize triggers and patterns of use and abuse, and appreciate the impact of addiction on themselves, their familes, and society. Participants accept responsibility for their conduct and acquire the necessary tools to achieve a sober, law-abiding, and employed lifestyle. Participants are required to develop a community based sober support network and a comprehensive relapse prevention plan as a condition of graduation from the LASER Docket program.
Incentives/Benefits for Participants
While persons who successfully complete the LASER Docket program can not expect to have their criminal charges dismissed, they may be eligible to receive one or more of the following benefits at sentencing:
- Motion for downward departure/variance based upon "extraordinary post conviction rehabilitation"
- Reduction in charge to a lesser offense based upon the United States Attorney's Office's discretion
- Recommendation for a non-guideline sentence
- Reduction in the term of supervised release or probation
Criteria for Consideration
The LASER Docket is not open or available to all defendant's charged in the District Court, but rather only to a small percentage of defendants. Review the LASER Docket admission criteria for eligibility.
A judge, probation officer, defense counsel or the prosecutor must make a referral for a defendant to be considered for admission into the LASER Docket. If a defendant meets the entry criteria, the following will occur:
- USPO will complete an Assessment and Referral Report
- Defendant will attend/observe LASER Docket courtroom session
- LASER Docket team will make an admission decision (team admission decisions are final with no right of appeal)
- United States Attorney must agree with an admission decision (if a pretrial defendant)
- Defense counsel must file a Notice of Acceptance into LASER
- Admitted defendants must plead guilty and execute a LASER Participant Agreement