Veterans Treatment Courts (VTCs) allow jurisdictions to serve the large segment of veterans who are often beset with problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury, substance abuse, or military sexual trauma. Random judges may or may not have an understanding of these problems.
A VTC deals exclusively with cases involving veterans and is strongly supported by an interdisciplinary team knowledgeable in the issues that affect veterans and with Veterans Health Administration, Veterans Benefit Administration, State Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Service Organizations, and volunteer Veteran Mentors and how they all can assist veteran defendants. It is also important for veteran defendants to have an attorney who understands Veterans Treatment Court and the issues that affect former military personnel. Doug Maner represents veterans and says "Our veterans who serve overseas have suffered from wounds far more complex and subtle than those caused by bullets and IEDS. Unfortunately these injuries sometimes cause our veterans to be prosecuted by government attorneys that are ignorant or disinterested in the unique needs of our veterans. We are well aware of how these non traditional wounds impact our veterans, and have the expertise to create a successful defense when these injuries result in a criminal prosecution.”
There are currently 18 Veterans Treatment Courts in California. Stanislaus County will soon join this list.
To be eligible for Veterans Treatment Courts, a defendant must:
a. Legal residents of Stanislaus County preferred.
b. Prior or current membership in the United States Military.
c. Preference given to combat veterans.
d. Must be eligible for Veteran’s Administration health care benefits.
e. Participant must suffer from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States Military (PC 1170.9 eligible).
f. Participant must be placed on probation. The fact an executed prison sentence is suspended will not be a disqualifying factor.
g. Participant must voluntarily and willingly agree to participate in the VTC program.
A defendant may be excluded from the VTC if:
a. A defendant with any current commitments to state or federal prison is not eligible. A defendant with a current commitment to local prison pursuant to PC 1170(h) may be eligible upon unanimous agreement of the VTC team.
b. A defendant with a pending case or pending pronouncement of judgment on disqualifying charges is not eligible.
c. A defendant with outstanding out-of-county warrants or foreign holds is not eligible.
d. A defendant charged with or previously convicted of any offense listed in PC 1192.7 is not eligible, except with the unanimous agreement of the VTC team.
e. No PC 667.5(c) violent felony current or prior convictions.
f. A defendant with current charges for sex-related offenses, including, but not limited to, those enumerated in PC 290, PC 311, PC 314, PC 647 (a), and PC 647.6, is not eligible.
g. No sex, arson or gang registrants.
h. No documented gang members.
i. No DUI cases in which the defendant has two or more prior DUI convictions, except with the unanimous agreement of the VTC team.
j. The defendant is not eligible, if as the result of the current offense, the victim suffered death or great bodily injury, except upon unanimous agreement of the VTC team
If you or a family member are a current or former member of the military with a legal problem that would qualify for Veterans Treatment Court, please contact The Law Office of Douglas D. Maner at 209-581-2985 OR BY CELL AT 209-315-5898 for expert representation in this highly specialized court.
FOR HELP WITH VETERANS TREATMENT COURT HEARINGS, CALL DOUG MANER'S OFFICE AT 209-581-2985 CELLPHONE: 209-315-5898
"Oddly enough, the hardest part of military life was my transition away from it. And I’m not alone. Depression, addiction, joblessness and the worst problems that affect the community can all be combated through adequate help and resources as a service-member begins to transition to civilian life," from Mike at themilitaryguide.org.
Below are a list of resources to help the transition from Military to civilian life:
Over 1.8 million Veterans currently reside in California. Of those, 1.5 million live within a county that has diversion procedures in place for current or former members of the military. Stanslaus County will soon join the list of Counties with a Veterans‘ Treatment court.
The California Department of Veterans' Affairs (CalVet) works to provide support to veterans who are justice involved through coordinated efforts with County Veteran Service Offices (CVSO) and California’s criminal justice system. Much of the growth surrounding veteran specific diversion can be attributed to the various statutes that have been added to the California Penal Code (PC), and the notable efforts of public defenders, prosecutors, and presiding judges that have selflessly devoted themselves to serving those who served.
Veterans‘ Treatment Courts have been designed as a response to the growing trend of veterans appearing before the courts to face charges stemming from substance abuse or mental illness. Veteran populations are frequently served by drug and mental health courts. Research has shown that traditional services do not always adequately meet the needs of veterans. Veterans treatment courts help present and former members of the military connect with treatment programs and benefits through the Veteran's Administration to which they are entitled.
“According to government reports, there are 23,440,000 veterans in the United States and approximately 1.7 million veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that as many as one third of the adult homeless population has served in the military and that at any given time there are as many as 130,000 homeless veterans. This population mirrors the general homeless population in that 45% suffer mental illness and 75% suffer from substance abuse problems. Veterans are not more likely to be arrested than the general population. But there are significant numbers of veterans involved with the criminal justice system, many of whom struggle with mental health and/or substance abuse illnesses. A 2000 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report found that 81% of all justice involved veterans had a substance abuse problem prior to incarceration, 35% were identified as suffering from alcohol dependency, 23% were homeless at some point in the prior year, and 25% were identified as mentally ill.” (Source: http://www.courts.ca.gov/11181.htm#acc11380)