Veteran’s Treatment Court is a hybrid Drug and Mental Health Court that uses a special court models to serve veterans struggling with addiction, mental illness, and/or co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders. A defendant is eligible for this program if s/he has served in the U.S. Armed Forces, is eligible for Veterans Service Benefits and has a demonstrated treatment need that is treatable.
This court is pre-adjudication, which means that it occurs before there is a conviction. The defendant must enter a plea but the court withholds a finding of guilt. This is similar to other programs like the first offender’s program, deferred prosecution program or drug court.
The District Attorney and defense lawyer must agree to allow the defendant’s case into Veteran’s Treatment Court and a contract for participation is created. To determine if there is a treatment need, the defendant must undergo an assessment by the Veterans Administration (VA).
The defendant appears before the Veteran’s Treatment Court judge on a regular basis, Rock County Judge James Daley. Even in a Dane County case, the Veteran’s Treatment Court occurs before Judge Daley.
Before a defendant gets referred to Veteran’s Treatment Court the defendant meets with the the Dane County Veteran’s Service Officer (CVSO). The phone number for the CVSO is 266-4158. The CVSO will determine the following: 1) Defendant’s eligibility for federal veterans health benefits; 2) Obtain the defendant’s DD 214 if s/he does not have a copy; and 3) Process the appropriate forms for the defendant to receive health care services from the Veteran’s Administrative (VA).
If the defendant is eligible for VA health benefits then and only then the defense attorney should discuss the matter with the District Attorney’s (DA) Office to determine whether the DA would consider this particular defendant and the crime charged would be appropriate for assignment to the Rock County Veteran’s Treatment Court.
If there is an agreement between defense counsel and the District Attorney’s Office, parties will inform the court that they stipulate to a referral to Veteran’s Treatment Court.
A Stipulated Disposition and Referral to Veteran’s Treatment Court will be filed with the court. The stipulation will be signed by the defendant, defense counsel and a member of the District Attorney’s Office. The plea hearing will take place. At the plea hearing it will be noted on the record what the agreement is. (Example: Court accepts plea for count __ – referred to Veteran’s Treatment Court in Rock County. Count 1 dismissed, bail continued.)
Here is a sample Veteran’s Court agreement.
Branch office personnel should fax the following documents to Judge Daly’s Office as soon as possible after the hearing: Fax: (608) 743-2226, Attn: Juelane Tuebert, Judicial Assistant to Judge Daley
1. Criminal Complaint
2. Copy of electronic court record
3. Veteran’s Court Treatment Diversion Contract (Word and PDF versions)
Cases with citations for any charges being dismissed and/or charges with convictions should be routed to the administrative office to the CT III assigned to that case type to close out. The case file should then go to the criminal court clerk if needed. The case file will then be returned to the assigned trial branch.
A letter will be sent from Judge James Daley, Rock County Veteran’s Treatment Court Judge, informing the assigned trial court that the case will be heard on a specific date and time, as a referral to Veteran’s Treatment Court.
An entry should be made in the court record as follows by branch office personnel:
EVENT: LETC (Letters/Correspondence)
ADDT’L TEXT: Rock Co Circuit Court; case is being heard as to referral to Veterans Court on 05-26-11 at 3:30pm.
Another entry should be made in the court record as follows:
EVENT: SCAC (Specialty Court C Accepted)
ADDT’L TEXT: Veteran’s Treatment Court.
There is no set length of time for the treatment court, it all depends on the defendant and his/her needs. Length could range from a few months to a few years.
The trial branch clerk/CT III should schedule a “File Review” in the case for monitoring purposes. The file review should be every 3-4 months at a minimum and can be longer. Text should be put in the activity comments as to why the file review is scheduled (Example: Def participating in Veteran’s Treatment Court). The case file should be kept in a separate location in the branch office designated for Veteran’s Treatment Court files.
Branch office personnel can call Judge Daley’s secretary, Juelane Teubert, at (608) 743-2261 to inquire as to the defendant’s participation in Veteran’s Treatment Court. It is not necessary to make the call but it can be done if your office would like to do so.
The assigned trial branch will not receive updates from the Veteran’s Treatment Court as to how the defendant is doing in the program. When the trial branch does hear from the court, it will be to either advise that the defendant has completed the program or is being terminated from the program.
Depending on what occurs, one of the following entries should be made in the court record:
Defendant Successfully Completes Veteran’s Treatment Court
EVENT: SCFA (Specialty Court C Completed)
ADDT’L TEXT: Veteran’s Treatment Court
Defendant was terminated from the Veteran’s Treatment Court
EVENT: SCTA (Specialty Court C Terminated)
ADDT’L TEXT: Veteran’s Treatment Court
A hearing will need to be held in the case for one of two actions to occur:
1) The count remaining open for successful completion of the Veteran’s Treatment court will be disposed of per the agreement.
2) An adjudication/sentencing hearing will be held.
After the hearing the case file should be routed to the Administrative Office for the CT III assigned to that case type to close out the case file. Depending on what happened at the last hearing, the case file may or may not need to go to the Criminal Court Clerk for further processing.
The case file is then routed to the Records Center to be placed on the “to be checked-in shelf” for filing in the records center.