Effects on the Community
The Courts Role
Adjudication Process
Sentencing Options
Community Impact

Panel Bios

Honorable Norman Kent Lawrence
State Court of Athens-Clarke County

Honorable Norman Kent LawrenceJudge Lawrence has been the elected judge of the State Court of Athens-Clarke County since November 1985. Prior to assuming this position, he worked as a patrol officer, special investigator with the District Attorney's office, a countywide drug task force officer, Chief of Police, and a prosecuting attorney. In 1992, he was appointed by former Governor Zell Miller to the Statewide DUI Task Force. He served two years on the twenty-four member State Judicial Council which evaluates policies for court administration and recommends improvements in the state's judicial system. He served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Institute of Continuing Judicial Education of Georgia from 1995-2002. Judge Lawrence implemented the first DUI/Drug Court in Georgia in February, 2001. He currently serves on both the Statewide Drug Court Advisory Committee for the Administrative Office of the Courts and the Judicial Council Standing Committee on Drug Courts. In 2005, he was the recipient of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director's Award in recognition and dedication to the highest standards of excellence in promoting public safety in Georgia. He has been a facilitator for DUI/Drug Court teams around the country. He recently was elected to serve on NADCP board beginning in June, 2006. In 2006, he was the recipient of ABA/NHTSA Specialized State Court Judges Judicial Fellowship. He has served as President of the Council of State Court Judges of Georgia and is an active member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Western Judicial Circuit Bar Association. Judge Lawrence has both a Bachelor and Master's Degree in Education from the University of Georgia, and received a Juris Doctorate Degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1978. On November 7, 2006 Judge Lawrence was elected without opposition to serve a sixth four (4) year term to begin on January 1, 2007.

Honorable Peggy D. Davis
Greene County Judicial Facility

Hon. Peggy D. DavisPeggy Davis is the Drug Court Commissioner in Greene County Missouri. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from the University of Oklahoma and her Juris Doctorate from Oklahoma City University School of Law. She has worked as a public defender and as an assistant prosecutor for Greene County Missouri.  Commissioner Davis serves as a DWI Court faculty member for the National Drug Court Institute. She is a member of the Alternative Courts Rules Committee established by the Missouri State Supreme Court. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Association of Drug Court Professionals.

Honorable Robert Pirraglia
Rhode Island District Court

Hon. Robert PirragliaJudge Pirraglia has been a judge for the Rhode Island District Court since 1984. He earned his B.A. from Providence College and his J.D. from George Washington University Law School. He was appointed to chair a National Committee to Defend the Judiciary from Unfair Attacks by the chair of the Judicial Division of the ABA. He is a member of the Rhode Island and American Bar Associations. Judge Pirraglia has written articles on the role of the judge and court and media relations for the American Judicature Society, NJC, the ABA Judicial Division Newsletter and for local Rhode Island newspapers. He has planned and implemented three Presidential Showcase programs at ABA Annual Meetings dealing with the relationship between the courts, the community and the media. Judge Pirraglia has been teaching throughout the United States for 10 years on the subjects: “The Role of the Judge,” court/media relations, judicial outreach, evidence, criminal procedure, and judicial independence. He has taught for the ABA, the AJA, the National Center for State Courts, and for twenty state judiciaries. Judge Pirraglia also hosts a weekly cable television program called “The Judges’ Roundtable.” He has been chosen as the NHTSA Judicial Fellow with the task of providing educational programs and materials to judges who handle traffic related cases. Judge Pirraglia is an NJC alumnus and joined the faculty in 1992. Judge Pirraglia serves as a member of the ABA House of Delegates, the Association’s policy making body, representing The Judicial Division’s Specialized Court Judges.

Honorable G. Michael Witte
Dearborn Superior Court

Hon. G. Michael WitteHonorable G. Michael Witte is judge of the Dearborn Superior Court No. 1, Lawrenceburg, Indiana.  He served as judge of the Dearborn County Court from 1985 – 2000 and was the first Asian American to serve as judge in the State of Indiana.  He received both his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Indiana University, and serves on the law school’s Alumni Board. He is a 1991 graduate of the Indiana Judicial College, the 2002 class of the Graduate Program for Indiana Judges, and served on the Indiana Commission on Courts from 2005-2007. 

Judge Witte served as the Judicial Fellow for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1995-98.  He also served as Chairman of the American Bar Association National Conference of Specialized Court Judges from 2005-06 and currently serves as co-chair of the ABA Judicial Division Standing Committee on Minorities in the Judiciary.  In 2007 he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Transportation to the Congressional task force on Commercial Driver’s Licensing.

Judge Witte joined The National Judicial College faculty in 1994. In addition, he has served as faculty for programs presented by the American Bar Association, the National Judicial College, NHTSA, the National Center for State Courts, the National Criminal Justice Association, the Indiana Judicial Center, and the Indiana Continuing Legal Education Forum.  Judge Witte’s teaching experience is primarily in the field of impaired driving, traffic court, and small claims issues.

Dr. James Drennan
Albert Coates Professor of Public Law and Government
UNC School of Government

Dr. James DrennanJim Drennan joined the Institute of Government in 1974. He is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, the American Bar Association, and the National Association of State Judicial Educators. While on leave in the 1990s, he served as director of the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts for three years. His consulting activities include work with the North Carolina Sentencing and Policy Advisory Commission, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, the Division of Community Corrections of the North Carolina Department of Correction, and the North Carolina Administrative Office of the Courts. His recent writings have focused on impaired driving, judicial administration (court security, privacy and open records issues, and jurisdiction issues) and legal aspects of nonprofit organizations that have dealings with local governments. Drennan earned a BA from Furman University and a JD from Duke University.

Diane Cowdrey

Brian Chodrow
Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Main | Panel Bios | Videos | PowerPoints | Self Assessments | FAQs | Feedback