The ADR Prof Blog reported on an Op-Ed in the NY Times about veterans court. Details:
All over the country, special “problem-solving” courts deal with specific types of criminal behavior, separate from the regular court system. There are drug courts, sex offense courts, mental health courts, and now, veterans’ courts.
Soldiers who commit certain crimes after returning home with mental health disabilities are treated differently than others who break the same laws and go through traditional courts. Some judges believe a vet’s service to the country merits special legal consideration. Need to Know correspondent Maria Hinojosa went to Texas to find out more.
Effective July 12, 2010, the Hennepin County Veterans Court will operate on a weekly basis, as a separate calendar within the existing Criminal Mental Health Court. Under the guidance of their defense attorney and with the consent of the prosecutor, defendants may apply to participate in the Veterans Court. The targeted population consists of defendants who have served in the United States Armed Forces who are experiencing treatable behavioral and chemical health issues;msuch as PTSD, TBI, anger management/domestic violence and/or substance abuse or chemical dependency. Defendants must be willing to take responsibility for their crimes. Eligible offenses include misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor and felony offenses, except mandatory and presumptive prison commitments. Misdemeanor and gross misdemeanor cases are also accepted from the suburban courts as well.
Karen Heller: Veterans Court winning cases
By Karen Heller
Today is Veterans Day at the Criminal Justice Center. So is every Wednesday, when it's time for Veterans Court, the Hon. and U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Patrick F. Dugan presiding.
Established in March by state Supreme Court Justices Ronald D. Castille and Seamus P. McCaffery, both decorated veterans, the court is one of three in the state, and almost 20 nationwide, exclusively handling veterans' misdemeanor cases.
It's already a success, a "problem-solving" court, like drug court and mental health court, designed to expedite assistance and avoid costly legal delays and jail time. Defendants range from age 20 (Iraq) to 80 (Korea), but the cases are remarkably sad and similar - virtually all male, charged with driving under the influence, disorderly conduct, possession, spousal abuse.