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Byline: Rod Thomson STAFF WRITER
MIAMI -- Bailiffs and public defenders applauded.
The prosecutor clapped her hands.
Even the defendants cheered as Yvette stepped to the front of the courtroom to receive a hug and a kiss from Circuit Judge Stanley Goldstein, and to get her diploma that shows she is "clean."
The beaming young woman has been off cocaine for a year. As she left courtroom 4-4 of the Richard E. Gerstein Judicial Building in Miami, Yvette was free to move to New Jersey to start a new life.
That new life begins with no drug addiction and with no record of a criminal past.
Goldstein's tender moment with Yvette came not long after he had delivered a harsh scolding to Valerie, another addict who had been ducking drug treatment. "How would you like a spanking, right here in open court, in front of everyone?" he barked. "I don't want to watch you die."
Goldstein is not your typical judge, and this is far from a typical courtroom. This is drug court, Miami-style.
And it works so well that many other cities and counties, including Sarasota and Manatee, are copying the model that Goldstein helped build in 1989. There are no plans at this point for such a court in Charlotte County.
"I don't think, without the program, I would have been able to" kick drugs, Yvette said outside the courtroom last month. "I think Judge Goldstein helps out a lot of people, instead of just putting people in jail and then letting them back out …