Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) October 20, 2017 - Veterans Treatment Court recently celebrated its fifth anniversary. It is a program supervised by the court in Marion County for individuals who are charged with a crime and who are afflicted with a mental illness, substance abuse or other mental health condition relevant to their military service.
The veterans are paired with veteran mentors, normally from the same military branch, who provide them with the help they need. They receive the needed treatment, medication and other support to reattain their place in life. Upon graduation from the program, the State Attorney’s Office files a “nolle prosequi,” or no information on their charges.
Florida veterans’ lawyer David W. Magann states, “Veterans have and continue to benefit greatly from the services provided by the Veterans Treatment Court.”
According to County Judge Jim McCune, who manages the Veterans Treatment Court, the objective is to get well, remain well and do well. If a veteran fails a drug screen or commits other crimes, they will be put in jail or expelled from the program.
Veterans Treatment Court started as an outgrowth of the Marion County Mental Health Court program. McCune and a group consisting of a public defender, State attorney and probation officer travelled to Buffalo, New York to look at the first Veterans Treatment Court in the nation. McCune said the program began small, and that initially, only combat veterans facing charges of misdemeanors who had been honorably discharged were qualified. As the program progressed, it included veterans who were charged with specific felonies, non-combat veterans and dishonorably discharged veterans.
One of the reasons veterans have a tendency to do better in Veterans Treatment Court than in the regular court system is the team environment. It is also helpful that they have a regimented schedule, similar to the schedule in the military. In the future, McCune and program coordinator Johnny Valentine say they wish to expand community outreach and educate others about the program.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
4012 Gunn Highway #165
Tampa, Florida 33618