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Understanding the Veterans Restorative Justice Act

Veteran-hand-raised_850

Protecting our communities by serving our veterans.


By Evan C. Tsai

Rodger Brodin is a Vietnam-era Marine Corps veteran and the sculptor responsible for “A Monument to the Living.” The statue—a green man wearing a utility uniform, boots, combat gear, and a bandolier of ammunition—stands with shoulders shrugged and palms open with splayed fingers. The plaque at the base of the statute reads, “Why do you forget us?” The statue is a constant reminder to the politicians at the Minnesota State Capitol that they have a responsibility toward military members, especially those who fight in America’s military campaigns.

With that promise in mind, the Minnesota Legislature passed the Veterans Restorative Justice Act (VRJA) on June 30, 2021. Gov. Tim Walz later signed the VRJA into law, effective August 1, 2021.1 Its enactment followed years of effort from the Veterans Defense Project and other organizations lobbying at the State Capitol.2 The VRJA’s passage shows that our state can protect Minnesota communities when a particularly vulnerable population is provided with resources to address homelessness, suicide, mental health, and chemical dependency needs.3 

Military veterans charged with crimes are much less likely to commit new crimes if they have completed ordered programs that are recommended through a validated risk-need assessment while given a legal incentive to do so.4 As if the proven decrease in recidivism is not enough reason for the VRJA, studies also show the cost-effectiveness as well as the improved control over growing court calendars for criminal justice systems that implement diversion programs such as the VRJA.5 

Pretrial diversion programs similar to the VJRA provide better outcomes for participants, including less time spent incarcerated, avoidance of criminal convictions that otherwise would make finding gainful employment difficult, and improved substance use and mental health outcomes.6 This means fewer people are incarcerated and post-adjudicative resources such as probationary supervision and prisons are not as frequently used. Published studies spanning over two decades show that sentencing schemes such as the VRJA yield savings of $2,000 to $13,000 per military veteran criminal defendant.7 

WHY WE NEED VRJA: THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM 

Until the last decade or so, our nation has never adequately addressed the mental health of veterans after they complete their military service. Returning military veterans often deal with the demons of service in self-destructive, reckless, and vicious ways. That behavior echoes through society, destroying the lives of veterans, their families, and often the communities from which both came.8 While most of our veterans return from their service to become immediate assets to their communities, many find themselves suffering from invisible injuries. Left untreated, some of these veterans will find comfort in alcohol and drug abuse. Service-related trauma and resulting self-destructive behavior often manifest in criminal behavior; the veterans who suffer from this trauma historically found themselves demonized and discarded by the criminal justice system and ultimately exiled into prisons and mental hospitals, or simply rendered homeless and destitute.9 This struggle with mental and chemical health has been a recognized, publicly visible consequence of military service for many years yet has remained a taboo subject. Brockton Hunter, a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney and a founding member of the Veterans Defense Project, calls this phenomenon “a painful and inconvenient reminder of the true cost of war[].”10 

The relationship between war and a postwar rise in criminality has become conventional wisdom.11 Combat—and, in some instances, intense preparation for combat—can damage people physically and psychologically. Combatants, those who train for combat, and even the loved ones of combatants are subjected to and often compelled to engage in violence.12 The physical injuries associated with war, including exposure to toxins and illicit drug use during combat, have been linked to postwar psychological and behavioral problems and ultimately to violent behavior. Concussions and other brain injuries suffered during battle were suspected of causing mental derangement and criminal behavior, including violent offenses, in some veterans of the American Civil War and World War I.13 

But violent behavior doesn’t stem only from physical injury. Directly witnessing and engaging in serious violence is psychologically distressing. Historically we have recognized these moral injuries as war-related trauma, often referred to as battle fatigue, shell shock, and soldier’s heart.14 When we train and condition people in the use of violence and then send them into war to perform unimaginable tasks, we should not be surprised when some bring their wars home with them and act out against their own communities.15 But while the totality of research definitively links combat with physical and psychological injury that leads to criminal behavior, little research has been done to examine how best to curtail criminal behavior after military service.

Our country has endured an ongoing and staggering impact for our abandonment of the warfighters from the Vietnam War.16 Almost 50 years after the end of the war, countless Vietnam-era veterans who were either drafted or volunteered remain incarcerated, homeless, and/or battling mental and chemical health issues.17 Others chose suicide to end their suffering. Some scholars estimate that Vietnam-era veteran suicide deaths range as high as 150,000 to 200,000.18 Among the 3.5 million Americans to serve in the Vietnam War, some estimates place the number of warfighters suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at up to 1.5 million.19 Studies show a direct correlation between combat exposure and violent acts and criminal propensity.20 One estimate suggests that “the social cost of the increase in violence and crimes due to the Vietnam War was roughly $65 billion.”21

The effects of the Vietnam generation of returning warfighters have also cost the rest of American civil society. Families have been destroyed. Jobs have been lost. Taxpayer-funded treatment arrived too late and made too little difference in helping those unfortunate souls. This is particularly appalling in light of what we know now: Veteran advocates see involvement in the criminal courts as opportunities for intervention before more serious offenses or consequences occur. 

American society finds itself at the tail end of another set of major conflicts. Operation Iraqi Freedom officially ended on December 15, 2011. The War in Afghanistan ended officially on August 30, 2022. Unlike those conscripted into the Vietnam War, the warfighters of the United States’ two longest-running military campaigns were not plucked from a draft.22 Instead, the United States military sustained these wars with only a small volunteer military that recycled troops back into combat. A large portion of our active-duty service members have served at least two combat tours. Many have served more, especially those service members serving in the ground combat capacity. Our country has been engaged in our nation’s two longest wars at the same time with the smallest per capita military force our nation has had since before World War II.23 

The problem of the coming wave of criminality is compounded by battlefield injury. Warfighters are now dealing with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in greater numbers than in any previous American conflict. The nature of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the enemy’s prolific use of improvised explosive devices have made TBI more likely among combatants.24 Moreover, improvements in body armor and battlefield medicine make surviving explosions more likely than in previous conflicts. TBI are particularly relevant in the criminal justice context because of the recently discovered causality between such injuries and impulsive violence.25 

Warfighters must contend not only with the injuries they sustain, but the stigma attached to invisible physical and psychological injuries. American military culture demands mental and physical strength and stamina and, implicitly, an inherent denial of mental injury for fear of being rendered combat-ineffective. This mindset forces the injured to deny (to themselves and to anyone else) that they even are injured. And that mindset persists even after the injured leave military service.26 When untreated, these injuries are addressed through self-medication using alcohol and drugs. This substance abuse will often lead to exacerbated symptoms, which in turn lead to self-destructive, reckless, or violent behavior.27 

Knowing these things, a group of attorneys and veteran advocates saw the criminal justice system as an opportunity to provide direct intervention to troubled veterans. Their work started Minnesota’s first veterans’ treatment courts and ultimately, the passage of the VRJA, codified in Minnesota Statutes, section 609.1056.

Veteran-support-150THE VETERANS RESTORATIVE JUSTICE ACT AND VETERANS’ TREATMENT COURTS

A veterans’ treatment court is a problem-solving specialty court that involves heavy collaboration between judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, probation officers, and treatment providers.28 These practitioners form a team that addresses the risks posed by the veteran participant’s previous criminal behavior through treatment planning and intense supervision in a courtroom setting.29 The VRJA was conceived with the veterans treatment court model as the Act’s inspiration.30 The connection between the Act and the treatment courts is not difficult to grasp: Veterans treatment courts reduce recidivism among those served by them. This saves communities money and improves public safety.31 

Veterans treatment courts, like other problem-solving courts, are a viable alternative to standard criminal courts in which a defendant is subjected to the standard adversarial series of court hearings. Instead of the litany of criminal court proceedings, participants in a veterans’ treatment court are intensely
supervised in a court setting that immediately addresses the changeable factors that contribute to criminal recidivism.32 The veterans treatment court is not an adversarial proceeding where a defense attorney and prosecutor argue before a jurist. Instead, they partner with chemical and mental health treatment providers to establish a plan of rehabilitation, supervision, and monitoring.33 

Participants in a treatment court are required to appear in court on at least a bi-weekly basis and attend recommended treatment sessions.34 Participants must be subject to random substance abuse testing. Many find the increased rigor and structure a positive change, since it replicates the demands of a military schedule.35 The result is a participant-centered, highly structured court with the goal of connecting veterans to veteran-centered holistic rehabilitation and eventual reintegration into the community. This alternative is proven to reduce criminal recidivism and substance abuse at a greater rate than simple incarceration. 

This veterans’ treatment court structure contains most of the salient insights on which the VRJA is based. The law was the product of 18 months of negotiations between criminal justice partners brought together in a working group hosted by the Veterans Defense Project. The working group consisted of prosecutors, public defenders, representatives from both the state and federal veterans’ affairs departments, and veteran advocates.36 That collaboration identified the needs presented by the effects of one’s military service while recognizing that not every judicial district can establish a dedicated veterans treatment court. 

The sentencing scheme established by the VRJA also provides a uniform approach to Minnesota’s veterans treatment courts. Rep. Sandra Feist, DFL-New Brighton, encapsulated the working group’s sentiment this way: “This isn’t just something nice that we’re doing for veterans.…When [veterans] engage in the rehabilitative path, they are having multiple meetings per week, they are being forced to confront their past, they are forced to seek the treatment they need. It’s a much harder path than just sitting in a jail cell.”37 Certainly, the interests of justice demand that a criminal defendant who acquired a criminal record due to a mental health condition or physical injury stemming from United States military service should be restored to the community of law-abiding citizens. And for the proponents of the VRJA, the VRJA represents the firm endorsement of a restorative post-plea, pre-adjudication model where successful completion of rehabilitative treatment and intensive monitoring is met with a dismissal of charges without a conviction entered. 

MINNESOTA STATUTES, SECTION 609.1056

The VRJA provides a framework to Minnesota courts regarding the disposition of cases involving a veteran charged with a crime. The VRJA does not create a veterans treatment court in every county or jurisdiction in Minnesota, but it does present a post-plea option for veterans by allowing courts to offer access to programs and treatment for service-related conditions that contributed to the criminal offense. The VRJA further provides opportunities for criminal defendants to collaborate with a county veterans’ service officer and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to maximize benefits and services available to the criminally charged veteran. The VRJA provides uniformity to the veterans treatment courts currently operating in Minnesota. The VRJA is codified in Minnesota Statutes, section 609.1056. Veterans sentenced under the VRJA will receive the benefit of a stay of adjudication of sentence in exchange for participating in intensive supervision, treatment, aftercare, and other rehabilitative programming. 

Eligibility

A veteran is eligible for the benefits of the VRJA when the veteran demonstrates through clear and convincing evidence a connection between their military service and the criminal offense. To be eligible, the veteran must release records of their service and/or professional evaluations supporting their claim that their military service and the criminal charge(s) are related.38 On that record, the presiding judge must determine if the military veteran defendant “suffers from an applicable condition, whether that condition stems from service in the United States military, and whether the offense was committed as a result of the applicable condition.”39 

Subdivision 1(1) of Minn. Stat. §609.1056 defines “applicable condition” as “sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, posttraumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or a mental health condition.” The applicable condition requirement is intentionally broad and recognizes that military service, even outside of combat exposure, can have severe negative impacts upon service members. One would not have difficulty understanding how a veteran who suffered from military sexual trauma, training accidents, or exposure to the revulsions of combat far outside of the combat zone would be traumatized. 

But beyond the association between a military veteran’s physical or mental injury and their criminal behavior, a veteran’s eligibility under the VRJA rests upon the severity of the crime(s) charged. While serious crimes are excluded (for example, murder or criminal sexual conduct), a veteran charged with crimes as serious as domestic assault, burglary, felony driving while impaired, and drug crimes in the third degree can be eligible. Specifically, the VRJA makes a veteran charged with a severity level 7 crime or below eligible to receive a stay of adjudication per subdivision 1(2) of Minn. Stat. §609.1056. The VRJA recognizes that veterans who commit up to severity level 7 offenses are likely the veterans in the most need of immediate therapeutic intervention; without it, they pose the greatest and longest-lasting threat to public safety.

The VRJA also permits probationary sentences for crimes that would otherwise require an executed prison sentence. Under subdivision 4 of Minn. Stat. §609.1056, a military veteran defendant is eligible for a sentencing departure for offenses that are higher than severity level 7. But unlike the conditions required for eligibility, a veteran defendant must also demonstrate they have engaged in meaningful rehabilitative efforts in addition to and for the purposes of treating the applicable condition. This means the military veteran defendant and their attorney must find appropriate rehabilitative programming instead of waiting for the court to order it. The VRJA does not allow probationary sentences for crimes that require predatory offender registration. 

Judicial determinations

The VRJA also provides for discrete decision points for judges. A judge conducting hearings under the VRJA must determine if a military veteran defendant is eligible for VRJA sentencing. The same judge must also determine whether the military veteran defendant has successfully completed the necessary treatment, rehabilitation, aftercare, and all other conditions of probation such that the veteran defendant is no longer a threat to public safety. If a judge makes this determination, the charge(s) against the defendant are dismissed. 

Unlike many current veterans’ treatment courts in Minnesota, the VRJA requires the court to determine eligibility rather than the prosecutor. Information for that determination is presented in open court through testimony and evidence, like a sentencing hearing for criminal defendants seeking mitigation from a statutorily prescribed punishment. In veterans treatment courts where the prosecutor acts as a gatekeeper, often the gatekeeping function has no stringent guidelines for admission. Uninformed and ill-trained prosecutors sometimes defer to their assessment of a veteran’s chances of success and rehabilitation instead of an assessment of the veteran’s likelihood to reoffend and need for rehabilitation and treatment. Some prosecutors will arbitrarily defer to less serious offenses as a benchmark for eligibility. Sometimes, those same prosecutors base their criteria for eligibility upon what is politically palatable as the gauge for protecting public safety. The VRJA does away with that possibility by providing uniform guidance to judges and political insulation to the prosecutor engaged in that decision-making process. To be sure, the prosecutor still has input and can contest eligibility in a public hearing. The prosecutor also has input and can also challenge a veteran defendant’s eligibility for dismissal of the charge after the probationary period has expired. But the judge remains the final arbiter for both eligibility and benefit. 

The same justification and policy considerations that make the judge the better arbiter of eligibility also apply to the legal disposition of a veteran defendant’s case. Putting the decision of dismissing criminal charges after completion of court-ordered conditions of probation in the purview of the court insulates both prosecutor and the process from political pressure. Indeed, shifting the otherwise traditional prosecution role to the judiciary acknowledges the responsibility that government has toward citizens who are sent to war. This ensures that the foreseeable effects of combat upon those who served are efficaciously addressed, regardless of public opinion.

Subdivision 3 of Minn. Stat. §609.1056 governs the hearing conducted at the end of the veteran defendant’s supervision period. The sentencing court must conduct a hearing to entertain arguments supporting and opposing dismissal of the charges. As in the eligibility hearing, the court may entertain written submissions, testimony, and evidence. Subdivision 3(b) requires the victim(s) of the military veteran defendant’s crime(s) to be notified of the hearing and their right to object to dismissal of the charges. The veteran defendant enjoys the burden of demonstrating with clear and convincing evidence that they (1) complied with the conditions set by the court; (2) completed court-ordered treatment; (3) do not pose a danger to the victims or any other people; (4) significantly benefited from court-ordered programming, such that dismissal of the charge(s) is in the interests of justice. 

The VRJA also promulgates the factors necessary in determining the interests of justice. These factors include:

  1. the defendant’s completion and degree of participation in education, treatment, and rehabilitation as ordered by the court;
  2. the defendant’s progress in formal education;
  3. the defendant’s development of career potential;
  4. the defendant’s leadership and personal responsibility efforts;
  5. the defendant’s contribution of service in support of the community;
  6. the level of harm to the community from the offense;
  7. the level of harm to the victim from the offense (with the court’s determination of harm guided by the factors for evaluating injury and loss contained in the applicable victim’s rights provisions of chapter 611A); and
  8. the statement of the victim, if any.

Note that the above eight factors are all necessary in the court’s finding that the interests of justice have been met.

Should the court find that the interests of justice are not being met because the veteran defendant has not met the clear and convincing evidentiary standard, the court may then adjudicate guilt and impose a sentence as the court deems fair and just. If the veteran defendant has proven that dismissal is warranted, the court shall discharge and dismiss the criminal charges. 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How does the VRJA define “member of the United States military?”

The VRJA is designed for a “defendant who was, or currently is, a member of the United States military…”40 The VRJA requires the defendant to release records related to the defendant’s service in the United States military. The implication, therefore, is that a member of the United States military is one who has served in the United States military, regardless of discharge status, length of service, deployment status, or whether service is with the National Guard or reserve components. The VDP Working Group that designed the initial language of the VRJA intended to cast the widest possible net for those who have served in the military. 

Does the VRJA override the Trog factors?

State v. Trog41 allows sentencing courts to impose a consequence for a criminal charge that is less than the recommendation from the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines. District courts are permitted to depart from the sentencing guidelines when they determine the existence of substantial and compelling circumstances.42 Subdivision 4 of Minn. Stat. §609.1056 allows a sentencing court to also impose a lesser sentence than that recommended under the same sentencing guidelines. Subdivision 4 further provides for a waiver of statutory mandatory minimum sentences. Any mitigated departure would require the sentencing court to find the same conditions exist for the military veteran defendant as the defendant seeking a stay of adjudication under the VRJA. The VDP Working Group intended for subdivision 4 to provide enough of a justification for a mitigated departure from the sentencing guidelines without additional Trog factors

Is there a right to present testimony, cross examination, and exchange discovery for the eligibility and disposition hearings?

In a standard veterans treatment court, the court team (judge, defense attorney, prosecutor, Veterans Affairs representative, probation or community corrections representative) discuss each potential defendant’s participation in veterans treatment court. This discussion necessarily addresses the defendant’s eligibility, including any underlying mental health and physical injury diagnoses involved in the criminal accusations against the defendant. The team also discusses the potential treatments and therapies that could be offered should the defendant be allowed to participate in veterans treatment court. Assuming the defendant is allowed to participate in veterans treatment court, the team continually monitors the progress of that defendant as the defendant continues through treatment, aftercare, living situations, drug testing, employment, and any other programming and life goals imposed by the court. In some courts, the defendant is required to submit self-assessments periodically; the treatment court team reviews these assessments to gauge the defendant’s continued transformation and reduction in likely recidivism. When the defendant is on the cusp of completing and graduating from treatment court, the team conducts a final assessment of the defendant’s progress and accomplishments and determines whether graduation from treatment court is deserved.

The hearings promulgated by the VRJA are meant to emulate the processes conducted in veterans treatment court staffing meetings. Both hearings are meant to provide the same arguments and information to the judge that would be shared and discussed in a staffing meeting in veterans treatment court. Presumably, that will mean each party will be able to call witnesses and present evidence. This means that parties should be sharing the information with each other. It also means the court may allow for parties to cross-examine witnesses. Treatment providers and representatives from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center may be asked to provide information about the military veteran defendant’s diagnoses and recommendations for rehabilitative programming. The point of each hearing is to convey as much information as practicable and necessary for the court to make a reasoned determination under the VRJA of the defendant’s eligibility and, ultimately, if discharge and dismissal are merited. 


EVAN C. TSAI is an attorney for the League of Minnesota Cities. He also serves as the board chair of the Veterans Defense Project. Tsai previously served as an assistant public defender. He received the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans Voices Award in 2014 and the Ramsey County Bar Association Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award in 2020. He is also a U.S. Marine Corps veteran.


 

Notes

1 WCCO Staff, “Veterans Restorative Justice Act Provides Social Services, Probation To Vets Instead Of Jail Time,” https://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2021/08/10/veterans-restorative-justice-act-provides-social-services-probation-to-vets-instead-of-jail-time/ (accessed 4/9/2022).

2 Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, “Veterans Restorative Justice Act provides options,” http://mn.gov/mdva/blog/index.jsp?id=1066-494591 (accessed 4/9/2022).

3 Id

4 Ryan S. King & Jill Pasquarella, The Sentencing Project, Drug Courts: A Review of the Evidence 5 (2009), https://www.sentencingproject.org/publications/drug-courts-a-review-of-the-evidence/ (accessed 4/9/2022).

5 See Joseph M. Zlatic et al., Pretrial Diversion: The Overlooked Pretrial Services Evidence-Based Practice, 74 FED. PROB. J., June 2010, at 41, 47.

6 Broner, N., Mayrl, D., & Landsberg, G., “Outcomes of mandated and nonmandated New York city jail diversion for offenders with alcohol, drug, and mental disorders,” Prison Journal, 85(1), 18-49, 2005, https://doi.org/10.1177/0032885504274289, (accessed 4/9/2022).

7 Douglas B. Marlowe, J.D., Ph.D, Research Update on Adult Drug Courts, Need to Know, National Association of Drug Court Professionals, http://www.nadcp.org/wp-content/uploads/Research%20Update%20on%20Adult%20Drug%20Courts%20-%20NADCP_1.pdf (accessed 4/9/2022).

8 Brockton D. Hunter, Esq., “Introduction,” The Attorney’s Guide To Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, p. ix., 2014.

9 Brockton D. Hunter, Esq., “Chapter 1: Echoes of War: Combat Trauma, Criminal Behavior, And How We Can Do Better This Time Around,” The Attorney’s Guide To Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, Veterans Defense Project 2014.

10 Id.

11 See Rosemary Gartner, Liam Kennedy, “War and Postwar Violence,” Crime and Justice, 47 (1), The University of Chicago, 2018.

12 Id. at 12.

13 Id., citing Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the American Civil War, 2009; Karl Kleist, Kriegverletzungen des Gehirns in ihrer Bedeutung fur Himlokalisation und Hirnpathologie, 1934.

14 Peter Meineck, “Combat Trauma and the Tragic State: Ancient Culture and Modern Catharsis?”, Our Ancient Wars: Rethinking War through the Classics, University of Michigan Press, 2016; Daniel E. Dossa, Ph.D. & Ernest Boswell, Ph.D., “Chapter 6: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Brief Overview,” The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, Veterans Defense Project 2014.

15 Hunter, supra

16 Id.

17 Id

18 Id., citing Chuck Dean, Nam Vet, Multnomah Press, 1990; “Suicide Statistics,” Suicide Wall, 2011, http://www.suicidewall.com/suicide-statistics/ (quoting an unnamed VA doctor for 200,000 suicide estimate). As the website no longer exists, see David Lester, “Suicide in Vietnam Veterans: The Suicide Wall,” Archives of Suicide Research: Official Journal of the International Academy of Suicide Research, 2005. 

19 Id., citing Dave Grossman & Bruce K. Siddle, “Psychological Effects of Combat,” Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict, 2000. https://www.killology.com/psychological-effects-of-combat (accessed 4/11/2022).

20 Chris Rohlfs, “Does Combat Exposure Make You a More violent or Criminal Person? Evidence from the Vietnam Draft,” The Journal of Human Resources, 45(2), University of Wisconsin Press, 2010, https://www.jstor.org/stable/25703457, (accessed 4/11/2022).

21 Id. To be sure, this estimate contemplates the value of the dollar in 2010. 

22 Gregg Zoroya, “Repeated Deployments Weigh Heavily on U.S. Troops,” USA Today, http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/military/2010-01-12-four-army-war-tours_N.htm (accessed 4/11/2022); see also Pew Research Center, The Military-Civilian Gap: War and Sacrifice in the Post-9/11 Era, https://www.pewresearch.org/social-trends/2011/10/05/war-and-sacrifice-in-the-post-911-era/, 2011, (accessed 4/11/2022).

23 Id.

24 Barbara E. Wojcik, PhD, Catherine R. Stein, MS, et. al., “Traumatic Brain Injury Hospitalizations of U.S. Army Soldiers Deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq,” American Journal of Preventative Medicine, https://phc.amedd.army.mil/PHC%20Resource%20Library/Traumatic%20Brain%20Injury%20Hospitalizations%20of%20U.S.%20Army%20Soldiers%20Deployed%20to%20Afghanistan%20and%20Iraq.pdf, 2010, (accessed 4/22/2022). 

25 Chrisanne Gordon, M.D. and Ronald Glasser, M.D., “Chapter 8: Traumatic Brain Injury – The Invisible Injury,” The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, Veterans Defense Project 2014.

26 Hector MatasCastillo, MSW, LSW, “Chapter 15: Running Head: Entering Into Kinship with a Warrior,” The Attorney’s Guide To Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, Veterans Defense Project 2014.

27 Walter Busuttil, MB ChB, M.Phil, “Chapter 9: The Interaction of Substance Abuse and PTSD or mTBI,” The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court, Veterans Defense Project 2014.

28 Id

29 See Edward J. Latessa & Christopher Lowenkamp, “What Are Criminogenic Needs and Why Are They Important?”, For the Record, 2005.

30 Ryan Else, “White Paper: Criminal Sentencing Should Work to Restore Veteran Offenders to the Community of Law-Abiding Citizens,” Veterans Defense Project. 

31 Evan C. Tsai, “The Practitioner’s Guide to Due Process Issues in Veterans Treatment Courts,” Mitchell Hamline Law Review, Vol. 43, Iss. 3 , Article 4.

32 For a more in-depth discussion of the rise of problem-solving courts, see generally Greg Berman and John Feinblatt, Problem Solving Courts: A Brief Primer, Center for Court Innovation, 2001.

33 Douglas Longshore et al., Drug Courts: A Conceptual Framework, 31 J. DRUG ISSUES 7, 8, 2001

34 What Is a Veterans Treatment Court?, JUST. FOR VETS, http://www.justiceforvets.org/what-is-a-veterans-treatment-court

35 Id

36 Bill Ward, “Why this bill is correct as is…”, The American Legion Department of Minnesota, 11/3/2020, https://mnlegion.org/why-this-bill-is-correct-as-is/ .

37 Jennifer Brooks, “A second chance for veterans gets a second chance at the Legislature,” Star Tribune, 4/24/2021, https://www.startribune.com/a-second-chance-for-veterans-gets-a-second-chance-at-the-legislature/600049880/  (accessed 4/24/2022). 

38 Minn. Stat. §609.1056, subdivision 2(b).

39 Minn. Stat. §609.1056, subd. 2(c).

40 Minn. Stat. §609.1056, subd. 2(a).

41 323 N.W.2d 28 (Minn. 1982) 

42 See also, Minn. Sent. Guidelines II.D.01, State v. Spain, 590 N.W.2d 85, 88 (Minn. 1999).


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