City of Scottsdale partners with regional veterans court

For some veterans, the battles continue long after they leave military service. Anger, depression or lack of a structured environment can lead to trouble with the law.

Scottsdale is joining a partnership that seeks to help veterans overcome these hurdles. It’s called the East Valley Regional Veterans Treatment Court.

The court physically is in Tempe, but two afternoons per month hearings will be scheduled for Scottsdale veterans facing misdemeanor charges. The program was approved by the Scottsdale City Council Aug. 30, according to a press release.

Unlike traditional courts, the Veterans Treatment Court will directly connect veterans with services to help them overcome behavioral issues that may be at the root of their legal problems.

While in Veterans Court, defendants will also receive assistance in finding housing, employment, enrolling in school and applying for benefits.

Each case is different, but the goal is to enroll veterans in programs that treat their underlying issues instead of sentencing them to fines and jail time.

“Veterans court is not a free pass, but a pathway to reintegration with the community,” said Gregg Maxon, the court’s presiding judge and a retired brigadier general with the Arizona Army National Guard, in the press release. “It is all about accountability.”

Statistics show veteran courts work. When vets receive assistance and complete prescribed programs, they are less likely to re-offend, the release stated.

The first Scottsdale cases are scheduled to be heard Oct. 20. Participation in the Veterans Treatment Court is projected to cost Scottsdale about $6,800 the first fiscal year to employee pro tem judges.

Go to http://www.tempe.gov/city-hall/city-court/east-valley-regional-veterans-court.

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