Beaufort Adult Drug Court Judge retires
BEAUFORT – Gerald Smoak, the former Circuit Court Judge who helped usher in an era of professionalism and accountability to the Beaufort Adult Drug Court, retired on Tuesday, February 5.
Smoak, 82, joined the court, now called the Beaufort Adult Multi-Disciplinary Court, in January 2010 along with retired Beaufort police captain Michael Lee after the Fourteenth Circuit Solicitor’s Office took over the operation of the court.
“Judge Smoak was instrumental in bringing respectability to the court and in the process made our community safer,” said Solicitor Duffie Stone. “He was firm with the court’s participants, consistent with the sanctions he placed upon them and totally committed to help them overcome the addiction or mental health issue that led them to commit crime in the first place.”
Since taking over the program, 72 non-violent offenders have been sentenced into the court. They are sent to prison if they fail to complete all of the requirements, which include drug and mental health treatment, passing multiple drug screenings each week, securing employment, paying restitution, attending Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous meetings and making weekly appearances in front of a judge.
“Judge Smoak drove down here from Mt. Pleasant every week to preside over the court,” said Lee, director of prevention services for the Solicitor’s Office. “That three-hour round trip illustrates how passionate he was to help people help themselves. Even though he came across as a no nonsense judge on the bench, he was deeply interested in each participant’s progress and would do what he could to keep them motivated during their inevitable stumbles along the path to sobriety.”
Beaufort attorney Erin Dean, who has served as an alternate judge, will now become the primary judge who presides over the court.