Presentation on theme: "Introduction to California Veterans Treatment Courts and Penal Code"— Presentation transcript:
1 Introduction to California Veterans Treatment Courts and Penal Code 1170.9 Jude Litzenberger, Coordinator, Veterans Treatment Review Calendar, San Diego Superior Court and Executive Director, California Veterans Legal Task Force; (LCDR, USN (Ret.)Hon. John Lonergan, California Superior Court, Los Angeles County (Col., USAR)Paul Freese, Director of Litigation and Advocacy, Public Counsel Law Center Los Angeles (Veteran, US Army)
2 VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS Judge Robert Russell – Buffalo City Court 200890 (+) Veterans Treatment Courts in U.S.13 in California -Santa Clara, Orange, San Bernardino, Tulare, Los Angeles, Ventura , San Joaquin, San Diego, Riverside, Santa Barbara, El Dorado, Placer, San Mateo (Sonoma, Kern, Monterey, Alameda, Sacramento, Sierra, San Luis Obispo, Kings)Collaborative Team model – hybrid of drug court and mental health court operationProvide and monitor treatment in lieu of jail/prisonDistinctive VTC features – Veteran Mentors & VA careEarly returns – Buffalo zero recidivism after two years
3 VTC BasicsCollaborative approach – 3-4 phased program with therapeutic/legal/social focus toward independenceMost plea agreements include legal incentives upon completion or at phase intervals as legally permittedIntense scrutiny in probation monitoringDynamic individualized treatment plan (12-18 mos)Felonies/Misdemeanors (formal/informal probation)Drug/Alcohol testing as required
4 CA has 9% of the returning war veterans with 110,000 living here now CA has 9% of the returning war veterans with 110,000 living here now. San Diego has the highest number of returning OIF/OEF veterans in the nation. According to a Department of Defense (DoD) report and local VA, there are now over Iraq/Afghanistan veterans in San Diego. The next largest population in CA is Los Angeles with about 17,000. San Diego is home to over 137,000 active duty troops and 250,000 veterans. There are over 2 million veterans residing in CA.OEF/OIF = Iraq or Afghanistan veteran. OEF stands for Operation Enduring Freedom, which is the war in Afghanistan. OIF, Operation Iraqi Freedom, which is the war in Iraq.Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration (2006). “Guidelines and Recommendations for Services Provided by VHA Facilities to Incarcerated Veterans Re-Entering Community Living.” Undersecretary for Health’s Information Letter, Washington, D.C.
5 Veterans Combat Experience 36.7% Received small arms fire56.9% Received incoming artillery, rocket or mortar fire18.1% Handled or uncovered human remains34.1% Saw dead or seriously injured Americans57.1% Knew someone seriously injured or killed47.4% Saw dead bodies or human remains45.4% Had a member of their unit become a casualtySource: Office of the Surgeon Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Office of the Surgeon General U.S. Army Medical Command. Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) VI OIF May 8, 2009.
6 Cross-Systems Mapping & Taking Action for Change 10/07National Vietnam VeteransReadjustment Survey (NVVRS)Vietnam Theater VeteransCurrentPTSD ( )Incarcerated3,140,000479,000 (15.2%)223,000 (45%)34.2% Misd.11.5% FelonyNational Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS)Almost half of all male Vietnam theater veterans currently suffering from PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once -34.2% more than once- and 11.5% had been convicted of a felony.The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among American Vietnam theater veterans is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. An additional 22.5% of men and 21.2% of women have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. Thus, more than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans -about 1,700,000 Vietnam veterans in all- have experienced "clinically serious stress reaction symptoms."15.2% of all male Vietnam theater veterans (479,000 out of 3,140,000 men who served in Vietnam) and 8.1% of all female Vietnam theater veterans (610 out of 7,200 women who served in Vietnam) are currently diagnosed with PTSD ("Currently" means when the survey was conducted).Source: National Center for PTSD, Fact Sheet: Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study, 1988 ~
7 Cross-Systems Mapping & Taking Action for Change 10/07Extrapolation for OEF/OIF VeteransU.S. and CaliforniaOEF/OIF Theater VeteransCurrentPTSDIncarcerated2,200,000CA770,000 (35%)CA 69,300346,500 (45%)CA 31,185National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Survey (NVVRS)Almost half of all male Vietnam theater veterans currently suffering from PTSD had been arrested or in jail at least once -34.2% more than once- and 11.5% had been convicted of a felony.The estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD among American Vietnam theater veterans is 30.9% for men and 26.9% for women. An additional 22.5% of men and 21.2% of women have had partial PTSD at some point in their lives. Thus, more than half of all male Vietnam veterans and almost half of all female Vietnam veterans -about 1,700,000 Vietnam veterans in all- have experienced "clinically serious stress reaction symptoms."15.2% of all male Vietnam theater veterans (479,000 out of 3,140,000 men who served in Vietnam) and 8.1% of all female Vietnam theater veterans (610 out of 7,200 women who served in Vietnam) are currently diagnosed with PTSD ("Currently" means when the survey was conducted).Extrapolation based on data from National Center for PTSD, Fact Sheet: Findings from the National Vietnam Veterans’ Readjustment Study, 1988; and VA published estimates of OEF/OIF veterans’ PTSD rates.
8 THIRTY YEARS OF LOBBYING Increased Criminality and Consequences Vietnam EraOEF/OIF EraDUI limits were 1.0 % BAC or higher in most statesDUI was traffic ticket that only effected driver’s license if repeatedNo interstate compact – could move to start freshDomestic Violence was family matterNo data mining/criminal records privateDUI limits are .08% or less BAC in most statesDUI is misd/felony crime with severe driver’s license and employment impactInterstate compact 48 states and federal jurisdictionsDomestic Violence misd/felony with major life consequencesData mining/public records
9 Clinical Implications of PTS Traumatic event is re-experienced (triggers)Persistent Avoidance of Stimuli associated with the event and Numbing of responseHyper-Arousal Symptomology of Interest- Sleep interference- Outbursts of anger- Concentration/focus problems- Unreasonable Fear and Hypervigilence- Exaggerated Startle Response
10 Practice Tip: TREATABLE Conditions! Post Traumatic Stress (PTS, PTSD, combat stress, military operational stress – watch “disorder”)Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Military Sexual Trauma (MST)DepressionSubstance Abuse/AddictionThese become worse with incarceration, treatment resistant with age and chronicity. Early identification and timely treatment yields best results.
11 Typical Offenses ANYTHING High Risk - Driving offenses/robberies DUI (multiple offenses in short time period)Substance abuse (85% self treat with alcohol)Bar fights/AssaultsDomestic Violence (atypical)Possession/Brandishing firearmsLook for “weird facts” related to triggers
12 Penal Code 1170.9 CA Legislative History Formerly PC enacted in 1982 in recognition of Vietnam Combat Veterans involved in felony crimes related to their psychological war woundsRevised in 1984, 2006, 2010 and 2012
13 What PC § DoesCalifornia Penal Code § allows the court to provide treatment in lieu of incarceration for veterans who suffer from PTSD, TBI, sexual trauma, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of having served in the United States military.Encourages treatment asearly as possible to makecommunities safe andrestore veterans to health.PC (f) allows outpatient treatment in lieu of mandatory custodyPREVENT 20 YRS OF LIVING UNDER THE BRIDGE400 homeless p/ month in our clinicMany are VIETNAM vets who are JUST NOW starting to deal with their PTSD and substance abuse.We don’t want to make the same mistakes with OEF/OIF veterans.
14 Prerequisites for PC(a) If the veteran alleges the offense was committed as a result of military sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems stemming from service in the United States military,Before being sentenced to county jail or state prison the court shall, make a determination as to whether the defendant served in the military and whether the defendant may be suffering from [the above].
15 PC§1170.9 after 1/1/11 Defendant served/serves in the military Defendant pleads guilty or is found guiltyProbation eligible/assigned and appropriate treatment is availableTreatment can be VA, Vet Center, or other local mental health resources if available and preference given to programs which have a history of treating veteran’s particular assessed condition(s).Custody credits day for day for residential treatment.
16 AB2371 Changes Effective 1/1/13 Judge monitoring probation/treatment may reduce felony “wobblers” to misdemeanorsMisdemeanors, including those reduced, may be dismissed by the judge without prosecutor agreementUnless applying for position in law enforcement, veteran may answer “NO” to questions re: arrest and conviction as related to the dismissed caseCan be considered a prior if any new criminal conduct happens after dismissal by monitoring judge
17 VTCs Save Local and State $$$ Feb 2011-Feb San Diego VTRC dataTwo year average is 100 veterans per week booked into county jails (answered yes to “have you ever served in the military?)Diverting 21 veterans in VTRC program saved $530,000 in jail costs (based on $ p/day)VA paid for treatment for the 21 participants, saving the county equivalent of $409,000 for 3500 residential days ($39 p/day) and 1100 hours of therapy ($61.50 p/hr LCSW rate)One new case – 4.7% recidivism (cf 48 cases prior 2 yrs)
19 CVLTF Assistance www.cvltf .org for more information or to donate Recognized non-profit organization under Internal Revenue Code 501(c )3 (funding/grant partnership)Offers free assistance to counties throughout California to help start and expand Veterans Treatment Courts and affordable legal assistance to veterans and their families (website, evaluation)We do not advocate any particular model of VTC, but can educate the local community organizers on models they can look at to decide one for their communityConducting survey on all CA VTCs/Collaboration.org for more information or to donate
20 Big Thanks to Our Sponsors County of San Diego HHSA, Mental Health Systems, Inc. Courage to Call Program grantRaymond James Charitable TrustCriminal Defense Lawyers’ Club of San DiegoConsumer Attorneys of San DiegoCalifornia Veterans Benefit FundCalifornia Department of Veterans Affairs
21 Panel Presentation Hon. John Lonergan, Los Angeles Superior Court Paul Freese, Director of Litigation and Advocacy, Public Counsel Law Center, Los AngelesJude Litzenberger, Coordinator, Veterans Treatment Review Calendar, San Diego Superior Court and Executive Director, California Veterans Legal Task ForceModerator: Miguel Pares, San Bernardino County Probation Department
22 QUESTIONS? Thank you for helping build stronger communities and restoring those veterans who serve our nation!