Q May the county drug court legally use drug court funds to purchase incentive gift cards for the participants, provided the process for obtaining such incentives are a written part of the county’s policies and procedures for drug court participants?

A A “gift” that was purchased without statutory authority would be an illegal donation. Pursuant to Section 9-23-7, the Administrative Office of Courts (AOC) is “responsible for certifying and monitoring of local drug courts according to standards promulgated by the State Drug Courts Advisory Committee.” Further, Section 9-23-169 states that all money received by the drug court shall be used “only for drug court purposes.” Whether or not the purchase of gift cards as incentives constitutes an expense for drug court purposes that meets the standards set by statute and the State Drug Courts Advisory Committee is a determination to be made by the AOC subject to review by a court of competent jurisdiction. (Attorney General’s Opinion to Holleman, April 19, 2019)