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Criminal Justice Conversations with David Onek: Judge Wendy Lindley, Orange County Superior Court


In Episode #33, Orange County Superior Court Judge Wendy Lindley discusses her innovative Combat Veterans court, overcoming the initial resistance of other judges to collaborative courts, providing “one-stop” services at the courthouse, and how collaborative courts can make us safer.

Judge Wendy Lindley Interview Highlights

Lindley on Providing “One-Stop” Services at the Courthouse:

“We call it one-stop shopping. Outside of the courtroom, we have 23 ancillary services that share office space.  So, it’s really nice for me as a judge, because I can sit on the bench and say to one of my clients, go out, go the first left, go into Voc Rehab, and sign up. If somebody is schizophrenic and a judge says to them, all right, you need to go see this doctor, then you need to go get your meds, well, if you are actively schizophrenic and maybe you’re paranoid, and you get on the bus, and you think the bus driver’s going to hurt you, you’re going to get off the bus.  And you’re not going to go where the judge told you to go. It’s just such a huge benefit to be able to say walk straight down to the end of the hall, healthcare services is waiting for you right there. It changes everything.”

Lindley on the Mentally Ill in the Criminal Justice System:

“Our jails and prisons in the United States are our largest mental institutions, which is wrong.  You know, if we look at society by how we treat our most vulnerable, we have truly failed with the mentally ill.  And we’ve got to change up what we do with these human beings who are suffering so.  If they were diabetic, we’d be handing them insulin and exercise programs and doing everything we could.  They’re mentally ill and we’re locking them up, and we’ve got to change that.”

Lindley on Law Enforcement Support for Collaborative Courts:

“Once law enforcement understands what you’re doing, they really get behind it. I actually had officers that write in their police reports, this looks like a good candidate for drug court.  And we often used to have law enforcement officers come to our graduations, because it was very gratifying for them to see that what happened at their end in the field resulted in this really good outcome, and I have to tell you my clients were more excited to have their police officer there, seeing them now totally changed, than they were to have almost anybody else at their graduation. So, getting law enforcement involved is essential in my opinion, because these are their issues on the street, and if you’re standing side by side with law enforcement, I think people are going to listen to you.” 



The Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast with David Onek features in-depth, thirty-minute interviews with a wide range of criminal justice leaders: law enforcement officials, policymakers, advocates, service providers, academics and others.

The Podcast gets behind the sound bites that far too often dominate the public dialogue about criminal justice, to have detailed, nuanced conversations about criminal justice policy.

Podcast host David Onek is a Senior Fellow at Berkeley Law School and a former Commissioner on the San Francisco Police Commission.

You can find more information on the Criminal Justice Conversations Podcast and listen to all past episodes on the Podcast web site.

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