“There’s a great impact (of this) beyond veterans.”
Meyer said cases will be referred to Veterans Court only with the consent of the defendant.
Serious charges will preclude an applicant from being accepted in the program, among them murder, manslaughter and rape.
While in the program, each veteran must attend weekly therapy and, usually, counseling for post-traumatic stress. Urinalysis will be conducted at random at a medical facility.
Representatives from the U.S. Veterans Administration, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, treatment facilities and Probation Department will be in attendance at every hearing.
Charges can be reduced or dropped if the veteran successfully completes the treatment program, the judge said.
“If you go to Veterans Court, you have the possibility, although it’s not guaranteed, to have that misdemeanor charge vacated if you successfully complete the program,” Meyer said.
“We can provide a full range of services: Social Services, Public Health, Probation (departments). Probation provides an extra layer of support. There is a benefit.”
Participation in the program consists of intensive supervision from the County Probation Department and the court.
Meyer said an informational meeting on Veterans Court will likely be held at the County Public Safety Committee session in August.
The court’s mentor coordinator will be Harry Treadway of Ticonderoga. Each participant will be given a mentor to work one on one with throughout the process, he said.
“We’re still in the formation process,” Meyer said. “We have to get mentors — that’s a key component.”
Email Lohr McKinstry:firstname.lastname@example.org