L.A. County launches special court for vets

LOS ANGELES The new Veterans Court will go into operation Monday, Sept. 13, in Department 42 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

Court officials said military veterans risk their lives for this country, with some returning home with mental and physical scars of war.

In recognition of this, the Veterans Court will allow veterans who suffer from mental health problems stemming from U.S. military service to receive treatment as an alternative to incarceration for nonviolent felonies.

The new Veterans Court is a joint venture by the Los Angeles Superior Court, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, Alternate Public Defender's Office and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The program is modeled after the Orange County Veterans Court program and other similar programs around the country.

To be admitted into Veterans Court, the defendant must meet program guidelines and all parties must agree to refer the veteran for further evaluation. The VA will perform an assessment and make a recommendation to a specific treatment program that best fits the needs of the veteran.

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