Special Veterans Court – Los Angeles County, CA
About the court:
- The court began September 13, 2010.
- It is a joint project by the L.A. Superior Court, District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, and VA.
- Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan will preside. He currently oversees the county’s special drug court. Like the drug court, the veterans’ court is designed to provide treatment rather than incarceration.
- It is modeled after the nearby Orange County veterans’ court program and other similar veterans programs around the country.
How it works:
- Initially, a maximum of 50 cases will be a part of the program at Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown LA.
- All military personnel are eligible, and it is particularly aimed at those suffering from PTSD, TBI, or other mental conditions.
- The pilot program is for veterans who have committed less serious, nonviolent felonies. It is anticipated that many cases will be related to drug and alcohol abuse.
- Participation is voluntary. All parties must agree to refer the veteran for evaluation.
- VA will assess the participants and recommend the best treatment course. Many veterans in the program will be referred to one of the VA’s medical centers in the county.
- There must first be a conviction before Judge Tynan will make a sentencing decision. A participating veteran will be ordered to complete the recommended treatment program.
- Judge Tynan will monitor the veterans’ compliance and progress.
- The court hopes for the success of similar programs around the country. The first veterans court, established in Buffalo, NY in 2008 (see previous blog post here), has not had any veteran who complete the program commit another crime.
For more information: