The court system has implemented a new program that addresses the challenge of combat veterans facing criminal charges. Orange County’s Combat Veteran’s Court has 50 veterans enrolled voluntarily in the program. In order to participate certain requirements have to be met and they must be approved to enter the program. One component is that they must remain off drugs and alcohol. Every candidate is also evaluated by a group and Judge Wendy Lindley in order to enter the special Court. The only type of case not accepted in the court program is murder.
This court came to be because it is well recognized now that these individuals are facing charges and dealing with the lasting affects of combat overseas. Most participants have been diagnosed with PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury. Counseling is provided by the VA and mentor volunteers as well. Other officials involved in the court are from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affair’s Justice Outreach Program, probation officers and representatives from the District Attorney’s Office. Upon completion charges can be reduced or dismissed.
The system is designed into four different phases with regular court appearances, counseling sessions, and drug testing. There are 90 courts in the country that have adopted such a system.
Here you can watch a CNN video that features Judge Wendy Lindley in Veteran’s Court.