Veterans’ Treatment Courts are responses to the growing trend of veterans appearing before the courts to face charges stemming from substance abuse or mental illness. Drug and mental health courts frequently serve veteran populations. Research has shown that traditional services do not always adequately meet the needs of veterans. Many veterans are entitled to treatment through the Veterans’ Administration and veterans treatment courts help connect them with these benefits.
In December 2011, California courts reported that nine veterans’ courts programs had been established throughout the state:
Alameda County Superior Court,
Los Angeles County Superior Court,
Orange County Superior Court (national mentor court),
Riverside County Superior Court,
San Bernardino County Superior Court,
San Diego County Superior Court,
San Mateo County Superior Court,
Santa Barbara County Superior Court
Santa Clara County Superior Court (national mentor court),
Tulare County Superior Court and
Ventura County Superior Court.
Additional veterans’ court programs are expected.
Questions regarding these local programs can be directed to the courts. To contact the courts, click here.For more information about veterans’ courts, email: CollaborativeJustice@jud.ca.gov
Notification of Military Status FormIf you are a member of the military or a veteran and are involved in a court case, you may have certain rights and protections. To let the court know you are or were in the armed services or reserves, you can use the form Notification of Military Status (Form MIL-100). This form can also be used by someone on behalf of a member of the military or a veteran.
California Department of Veterans Affairs: http://www.calvet.ca.gov/
Public Counsel Law Center, Center for Veterans Advancement:
Justice for Vets: The National Clearinghouse for Veterans Treatment Courts:
SAMHSA National GAINS Center Veterans and the Justice System
Invisible Wounds of War Study: A Joint Project of Rand Health and the Rand National Security Research Division:
Mentoring and Veterans Hospital Program Policy and Procedure Manual, Buffalo Veteran’s Court:
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans (NCHV)
Overview of Penal Code section 1170.9 for Justice Involved Veterans
Penal Code section 1170.9 provides judges with the option of sentencing military veterans to treatment instead of prison or jail if they have been convicted of certain classes of crimes, as long as the court finds that the defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of their past or present service in the United States military. The Justice-Involved Veterans: A decision map of Penal Code section 1170.9 guide gives an overview of §1170.9, outlines the steps to determining its applicability, and articulates some of the issues to consider in cases where the defendant is a justice-involved veteran.