Trouble with law in 'rearview mirror' for mental health court grad
Kane County Associate Judge Clint Hull calls the case for the last time.
"13CF853, People v. Bradley Burroughs."
In a suit, having graduated with his associate degree in mortuary science the previous night, Burroughs rises before Hull on Thursday during the weekly call of the county's mental health court program.
Burroughs, 23, of Sugar Grove, stands ready for another graduation -- one that will spring him from the treatment for anxiety and depression, the drug testing and the court appearances he's been ordered to complete for the past two years.
"It's probably one of the best days of my life to know that I wouldn't be going to jail and that I actually can start a career," Burroughs said.
With applause, hugs and handshakes, Burroughs became the 39th graduate of Treatment Alternative Court in Kane County since the program was established in 2006. The court is one of several across the suburbs that help offenders with mental illness gain control of their conditions, stabilize their lives and stay out of trouble.
"His criminal case that brought him here? Now it's dismissed and he'll be able to get it expunged," Hull said.
"This is something that you can put in the rearview mirror," he told Burroughs. "You're not going to ever have to answer to it again."
Burroughs entered the judicial system after getting into what he described as "an altercation" with a security guard in May 2013. He was charged with felony aggravated battery to a peace officer but bailed himself out of jail.
At first, he said he thought the program would be easy, but soon he found himself calling Lindsey Liddicoatt, Treatment Alternative Court coordinator, asking if he could skip his group therapy. The answer was always "No."
"Believe me, I was onto your game," Liddicoatt said in a letter read during Burroughs' graduation.
Attending therapy, Burroughs gained the ability to talk about his feelings and learned how to manage emotions of depression and anxiety "the right way in society."
"I see a different person standing in front of me," said Jennifer Kenneavy, who managed Burroughs' treatment at Association for Individual Development in Aurora, recalling what he was like two years ago. "One who is very competent and capable and has a great future in front of him."
While Burroughs walked away a free man anticipating the start of a yearlong internship at a funeral home in Elmhurst, he passed along some encouragement to those still working through the program.
"It's possible," Burroughs said, telling the remaining participants to chase their dreams. "Just because you all have a mental health illness doesn't mean that you can't do anything."
Mental health: A growing concern In an occasional series, the Daily Herald explores how the suburbs respond to conditions of the mind. Today, we profile a graduate who has completed the Treatment Alternative Court mental health program in Kane County.Mental health: A growing concern