As an attorney I represented many veterans who suffered from post traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury inflicted while serving their country. As a result of these invisible injuries many of these veterans ended up in the criminal justice system, often as a result of substance abuse or mental health issues related to their service to our country. I believe that we owe these veterans a second chance. It's the least we owe them, considering how much they have sacrificed for us.
When I ran for Judge in 2012 I did so on the promise that I would establish a Veterans Treatment Court to help our veterans. I have kept that promise. The Veterans Treatment Court Program requires the veteran to take responsibility for the crime they have committed, to plead guilty, to submit to close probationary supervision, to obtain VA benefits and undergo substance abuse counseling, mental health treatment, anger management counseling, or any other treatment suitable for the individual needs of the veteran. Community service and payment of all Court costs are also required.
If the veteran is successful in the program then the criminal charge against them is ultimately dismissed and they will become eligible to have their criminal record expunged. To date, the Veterans Treatment Court Program I run has been one hundred percent successful, meaning every veteran who has entered the program has completed the program and none have been charged with any new crimes.
Veteran's Court is more demanding than incarceration, requires more accountability, provides justice to the public, costs a fraction of what jail costs, and gives our veterans a second chance.
I am proud of the success of this program and the impact it has made on the lives of our veterans.