Orange County Creates a Veterans Court
by Matthew B. Wallin | January 19, 2010
With our troops overseas, it is easier to focus on sending those in active duty support; however, what about the veterans who return from war? What kind of psychological support system do they have when forced to re-enter a society that is relatively peaceful and calm? Re-integrating oneself back into a community, although he or she may be very familiar with the surrounding environment, is a whole new ballgame when you're talking about someone who was living in a combat zone for months, or even years, at a time.
In California, several Superior Courts have created a special court, called Veterans Court. According to The Los Angeles Times, "The first veterans court opened last year in Buffalo, N.Y.; its success stories have led to more across the country."
This court will handle veterans affairs, trying those men and women who are facing pending criminal charges. These criminal charges could include violent felonies and misdemeanors, which include the following:
- Drunk in Public
- Drug-Related Crimes
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Other associated crimes
Goals of The Orange County Veterans Court
- Cooperative, therapetuic treatment strategy for veterans in the criminal justice system who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychological or substance abuse problems, as a result of having served in a combat theater.
- The goal and purpose of creating the Veteran's Court is not to incarcerate defendants, but to give them access to the kind of treatment they need, which is often intense, depending on the circumstances they endured while at war.
- Veterans who will benefit from Veterans Court often suffer from addictions, mental illness and traumatic brain injuries. This newly-designed court does not follow the same procedures that Orange County courts follow, as these men and women who experience symptoms of PTSD need to be tried differently, according to their mental and physical condition.
California Penal Code Section 1170.9 Explained
- Legally speaking, "California Penal Code Section 1170.9 is the governing code section giving allowance for veterans who develop PTSD were similar problems in combat theaters to earn credit for time spent in court ordered treatment programs."
- The judge assigned to the case, in conjunction with the legal professionals working on the case, are sure to intensely monitor each defendant who is tried in the Orange County Veterans Court. Each defendant must frequently appear in court and must complete an assortment of treatment and educational programs.
- After spending approximately 18 months in the specially-designed OC Veterans Program, the presiding judge reviews the defendant's progress, congratulates him or her on completing the program successfully and the criminal charges are subsequently dropped.
How The Orange County Veterans Court Can Save Taxpayer Money
What did a 2003 National Institute of Justice study find? According to the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, " a drug court in Multnomah County, Oregon, to criminal adjudication showed the drug-court model saved the public more than $2,300 per year for each participant." Veterans who have suffered from experiences many of us will never see in our lifetime are not only shown the support they deserve, but taxpayers like you are indirectly benefiting from these lower overall costs. During a tough economy, every little bit helps, especially when it comes to paying taxes.
Who Veterans Can Turn to for Legal Support
If you're looking for a veteran's attorney in Orange County, Wallin & Klarich is an experienced criminal defense firm, unique from other criminal defense firms. Our attorneys not only have a superior understanding of the specific laws and evidentiary standards applicable to your case, we are also well-versed in determining the availability and potential eligibility for ways to get our clients the treatment they need and deserve, rather than the reality of state prison or county jail time they face.
For more information, connect with Attorney Matthew B. Wallin on LinkedIn.
About the Author
Matthew B. Wallin, Esq. earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of CA, Santa Barbara. He earned his juris doctorate at Chapman University Law School. He works as a criminal defense attorney for Wallin & Klarich in Tustin, CA, specializing in Criminal Defense, Juvenile Criminal Defense and DMV Matters.