It’s difficult to disguise a courtroom. For the most part, no matter what you do, it’s still a court of law, with unflattering lighting, two burly bailiffs in the corner and a ban on gum chewing
.But in state District Judge Elizabeth Frizell’s courtroom this week, guests who sat in wooden benches whooped and laughed out loud, making far too much noise for typical courtroom decorum. A table normally reserved for trial attorneys was covered in a baby pink: a pink tablecloth, pink paper plates, a marble cake with “Congratulations” written in pink icing.
It looked like a courtroom, but it felt like a party.
The celebration was for Frizell’s Strengthening, Transition and Recovery (STAR) court, a rehabilitation program for women with more than three prostitution offenses. Instead of going to jail, former prostitutes get probation and the chance to work with the judge to start a new life.After going through the 12 to 18-month program, three women had been approved to “graduate” and continue their recovery on their own. They filed into the courtroom to the melodic march of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Family and friends clapped and took photos on their cell phones.