Southern Region drug court
Laura Helton, Drug Court Coordinator
Mercer County Day Report Center
108 S. Walker Street
Princeton, WV 24740
Email: Laura Helton
About the Drug Court
The Southern Region Drug Court opened on January 9, 2006. It is a multi-jurisdictional drug court, handling cases from the Eighth Judicial Circuit (McDowell County), Ninth Judicial Circuit (Mercer County), Twenty-Seventh Judicial Circuit (Wyoming County), and Thirty-First Judicial Circuit (Summers and Monroe Counties).
The Southern Region Drug Court is an adult drug court. It handles pre-plea, post-plea, and probation violation cases.
At least six drug-free babies have been born to clients while enrolled in drug court.
court personnel involved
Circuit Judge William J. Sadler is Chief Judge of Ninth Judicial Circuit and Presiding Judge of the Southern Region Drug Court. Judge Sadler is a lifelong resident of Mercer County and is a graduate of Bluefield High School. He graduated summa cum laude from West Virginia University College of Business and Economics with a bachelor’s degree in accounting. He has a law degree from West Virginia University College of Law. Judge Sadler is licensed to practice law in West Virginia, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, and the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. He practiced law Princeton from 1988 to 1998, when he became a Mercer County prosecutor. Then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the bench to replace retiring Judge John Frazier. Judge Sadler took office on January 1, 2007. He is a member of West Virginia Judicial Association and is a past member of the West Virginia Association for Justice, National District Attorneys, and a Board Member and President of West Virginia Prosecuting Attorneys Association. He has attended courses at the National College of Advocacy in Colombia, South Carolina, and at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada.
Circuit Judge Omar Aboulhosn is a lifelong resident of Mercer County. He is a 1985 graduate of Princeton Senior High School, a 1989 graduate of Concord University, and a 1992 graduate of West Virginia University College of Law. He worked for several law firms in Mercer County. He previously was a Mercer County Magistrate, Police Court Judge for the City of Princeton, chief mental hygiene commissioner for Mercer County for nearly four years, president of the City of Princeton Police Civil Service Commission, and in 2007 he was elected to the Princeton City Council. He was elected to the Twelfth Family Court Circuit bench in 2008, but before he could take office then-Governor Joe Manchin III appointed him to the Circuit Court bench. Judge Aboulhosn is on the Board of the Jonathan Powell Hope Foundation and the Board of the Adam Chambers Foundation. He volunteers with the Boy Scouts and has been mentoring sixth graders at Montcalm Elementary School for more than a decade. He recently formalized his mentoring project at Montcalm with the Mercer County Board of Education in order to expand it – with the help of Generation GAP, a local young professional organization – to Bluefield Middle School and Athens Middle School. He received the 2007 Governor’s Service Award for volunteer community activities. He attends the Princeton Church of God and serves on many committees in the church.
Circuit Judge Derek C. Swope is a 1975 graduate of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and is a 1978 graduate of Washington & Lee School of Law in Lexington, Virginia. After more than twenty-two years in private practice as a trial attorney, he was elected to the bench in the Ninth Judicial Circuit and took office on January 1, 2001. He was re-elected in 2008. He is a member of the West Virginia Judicial Association. He has served on the Mass Litigation Panel since 2007, and he is a member of the Court Improvement Board, where he also served as Chairman of the Date Subcommittee. He is Chairman of the State Supreme Court Fatality Review Committee. He was selected as Public Official of the Year in 2006 by the National Association of Social Workers, West Virginia Chapter. He is a retired Colonel in the West Virginia Army National Guard, having received his commission from the College of William & Mary ROTC in 1975.
Laura Helton is the Drug Court Coordinator/Probation Officer for the Southern Region Drug Court. She is a graduate of Concord College with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has a master’s degree in social work from West Virginia University. She serves on the Concord University Social Work Advisory Committee and Southern Region Drug Court Committee.