Wisconsin’s Special Court Addresses Marginalized Vets, Notes Veterans Attorney
Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) October 16, 2012 - Wisconsin has created a new court specifically for military veterans.
Court officials are in place to launch a multistep process which sends referred veterans to Veterans Treatment Court, processing those accused of breaking the law in Wisconsin's Second Judicial District. The court combines substance abuse treatment and mental health support, funded by federal benefits and services in place for veterans. The court's goal is to treat the potential underlying issues contributing to unlawful choices, while also addressing the legal ramifications of those acts.
"Often, marginalized veterans are simply processed through an overburdened system without their underlying needs being addressed, much less met," says veterans attorney James Fausone. "It is heartening to see Wisconsin address the very real problem faced by veterans with mental health issues and alcohol or substance abuse issues."
The first steps toward Veterans Treatment Court include the screening and assessment of potential participants to see if they are a good fit for the program. If accepted, legal teams and the prosecutor in place negotiate a plea agreement and draft out terms of the proposed sentence, including Treatment court. If all goes according to plan, the defendant then goes to the plea and sentencing hearing, with potential for probation.
If the defendant is ordered to treatment court, they would appear there. Part of the veteran defendant's sentence would include successful completion of Veterans Treatment Court; failing to complete the plan or adhere to all steps would potentially trigger jail or prison time, similar to other, more traditional probationary plans. In addition to treatment, the program may introduce veterans to untapped federal benefits and services available to them.
Initial emails to the district attorneys’ offices in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties, requesting recommendations for a first wave of potential defendants who would benefit from the program, were sent in August, with the goal of psychological evaluations to be completed before mid-November. Eligible veterans must have diagnosed mental health issues, an alcohol or substance abuse issue, or a combination of the two. The number of potential cases is not known at this time, as referrals are just starting to trickle in. The first vet defendants are set to meet in session in November.
James G. Fausone is a Veterans disability attorney and Veterans attorney with Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC. To learn more or to contact a Veterans disability attorney or Veterans attorney call 1.800.693.4800 or visit http://www.legalhelpforveterans.com.
Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC
41700 West Six Mile Road, Suite 101
Northville, MI 48168
Toll Free Phone: 800.693.4800
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