Crime & Justice

Los Angeles opens new veterans court

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Los Angeles County is opening a new courtroom to handle certain criminal cases that involve military veterans.

Los Angeles County modeled the court after drug courts that help defendants avoid prison by entering rehabilitation programs and agreeing to close monitoring.

Veterans’ courts have surfaced across the country – there’s one in Orange County – to serve the growing number of military men and women who’ve returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many suffer from post traumatic stress disorder, brain injuries or drug addiction, and many end up in the criminal justice system.

As one Los Angeles Times article put it, many are “good kids” who “just disintegrated” in war.

Only veterans who commit less serious crimes will be eligible for the special court. Federal Veterans Administration officials will help recommend treatment programs.

The new court is a joint venture of the L.A. Superior Court, District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's Office, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.