Veterans Court

Veterans Court is a collaborative process that includes the prosecutor, defense counsel, Judge, the Department of Veteran Affairs and other community based support organizations.  The goal of Veterans Court is to rehabilitate and restore veterans as active, contributing members of their community.

The Veterans Court program focuses on veterans who are currently in, or entering, the Criminal Justice System.  The Court creates and supervises treatment plans to address the underlying causes of the veterans behavior and substance abuse issues.  Issues commonly addressed by the treatment programs include:

    • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
    • Traumatic Brain Injury
    • Anger issues
    • Domestic Violence
    • Alcohol abuse
    • Drug Abuse

By focusing on the root problems that contribute to involvement with the criminal justice system and providing specific rehabilitation programs, the Veterans Court provides an opportunity for the veteran to return to the community in a more advantageous and beneficial manner.

Eligibility

            Each Veterans Court is going to be operated differently depending on the needs of the individual jurisdiction.  Veterans with cases in jurisdictions without a Veterans Court will have to address their case within the court in that jurisdiction and will not be eligible for Veterans Court. Each Veterans Court establishes its own eligibility rules but, in general, a veteran must request to be placed in the Veterans Court program.  The prosecutor, defense counsel and the Judge must all agree that Veterans Court is the appropriate forum for the management of the case.  The veteran remains eligible for Veterans Court by making satisfactory progress in their court ordered treatment program and by complying with the other Veterans Court requirements.  It is important to remember, no veteran has a “right” to have their case assigned to Veterans Court.  Once in Veterans Court, the veteran must continuously “earn” the privilege of remaining in Veterans Court by complying with all the Court’s requirements.

Process

            Eligible veterans may participate in the court by voluntarily requesting their case be transferred to Veterans Court which meets as a separate court docket.  The prosecutor and the defense counsel evaluate each case and must agree that the case is appropriate for Veterans Court.  The case is then presented to the Judge for final approval.  The Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach specialist then verifies the veterans eligibility for veteran’s benefits and conducts an initial assessment of the veteran’s treatment requirements.  The veteran, if eligible for VA benefits, is then directed to the local VA medical facility for a more in-depth assessment.  It is from this assessment the parties agree upon a treatment plan for presentation to the Judge.  Upon approval of the plan by the Judge, the veteran begins the treatment programs called for in the plan.

            Progress in the treatment program is closely monitored by the Court.  Non-compliance with the treatment program can lead to sanctions which may include incarceration, community service, and reprimand by the Judge.  In cases of continuous non-compliance, a veteran may be removed from Veterans Court.  The favorable terms of any plea agreement may revoked and a sentence imposed.

            Upon successful completion of the Veteran Court program, diversion eligible veterans may have their cases dismissed. Veterans on probation may have their probation successfully terminated.

            Veterans in Veterans Court can expect to be subjected to more frequent reviews by the court to monitor the veteran’s progress in their treatment programs.  Veterans making satisfactory progress will be recognized by the Court offered words of encouragement.  Veteran’s not making satisfactory may expect words of encouragement of an entirely different nature and sanctions may be imposed.

            Successful completion of the Veterans Court program will be marked by “graduation” from the program. 

            Arizona Veterans Court Programs  

Maricopa County Superior Court Veterans Court (probation only)

            Maricopa County Superior Court

            175 W. Madison St.

            Phoenix, AZ 85003

            www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov

            Presiding Official:  Commissioner Barbara Spencer

 

Coconino County Superior Court Veterans Court

            Coconino county Superior Court

            200 N. San Francisco St.

            Flagstaff, AZ      

            www.coconino.az.gov/index.aspx?NID=985

            Presiding Official:  Judge Cathleen Brown Nichols

 

Phoenix Municipal Court Veterans court

            Phoenix Municipal Court

            300 W. Washington St.

            Phoenix, AZ 85003

            www.phoenix.gov/citygovernment/justice/specialty/veteranscourt

            Presiding Official:  Judge Deborah Griffith

 

Pima County Justice Court Veterans Court

            Pima County Consolidated Justice Court

            115 N. Church Ave.

            Tucson, AZ 85701

            www.jp.pima.gov

            Presiding Official:  Justice of the Peace Maria Felix

 

Lake Havasu City Consolidated Court Veterans Court

            Lake Havasu City Consolidated court

            2001 College Drive, Suite 148

            Lake Havasu City, AZ 86403

            www.mohavecourts.com/limited%20courts/Lake%20Havasu/lhc.htm

            Presiding Official:  Magistrate Mitch Kaluali

 

Tucson Municipal and Regional Municipalities Veterans Court             

            Tucson Municipal Court

            103 E. Alameda St.

            Tucson, AZ 85701

            www.tucsonaz.gov/courts

            Presiding Official:  Judge Michael Pollard


This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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