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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ind. Courts - "First veteran graduates from special St. Joseph County court"

Christian Sheckler of the South Bend Tribune reports on "the first graduate of the St. Joseph County Veterans Court" - some quotes:

The veterans court, established in 2013 and run through the superior court, is designed to help military veterans avoid jail time and criminal records when they run into trouble with the law, diverting them instead to an 18-month program that requires them to undergo counseling, drug testing and other requirements. * * *

[Air Force veteran Wayne] Kuritz was arrested in October 2013 for growing marijuana. He could have served six months in jail, but when he reached a plea agreement with prosecutors he was deemed eligible for the veterans court. He was able to keep his job throughout the 18-month program and have his felony wiped from his record.

"The program is good for vets. It's a more compassionate way of dealing with them," he said. "It was much better that I was outside, doing some good, than sitting in jail doing nothing with my life."

About 15 other veterans are working their way through the program. Along with the required counseling and drug testing, veterans in the program may be required to obtain a high school diploma, if they did not already graduate, and maintain steady employment, said Tara Paiano, a supervisory probation officer and coordinator of the county's special "problem-solving" courts.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 21, 2015 09:47 AM
Posted to Indiana Courts