Calhoun County judge introduces Veterans Treatment Court program - WSET.com - ABC13

Calhoun County judge introduces Veterans Treatment Court program

Posted: Updated:

Veterans struggling with legal issues in Calhoun County have a new option to offer a second chance.
A new Veterans Treatment Court will help provide counseling and other alternatives to jail for veterans with problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
"An individual comes to your car and waves a flashlight in their hand and starts aggressively approaching you, and you're suffering from post-traumatic stress or a traumatic brain injury, your button, your flip, your switch goes," disabled veteran Frank Crow said.
"You strike that person, not knowing that's a police officer.  It's really not your fault.  You don't know that you really did that."
Crow said that can be the result of a fight or flight instinct, drilled into soldiers through repetitive training.
"Somebody says 'duck' and we duck, and in normal situations that person probably recognizes that I wouldn't have done that, and that's the person that's going to graduate" from the Veterans Treatment Court program, Crow said.
Circuit Court Judge Brenda Stedham started the program at the request of the Alabama Administrative Office of Courts.  She is also the presiding judge for family court cases in Calhoun and Cleburne Counties.
"The reason for it happening is the injury that they have sustained.  They have a traumatic injury that is similar to that of NFL players," Stedham said about some veterans who would qualify for the treatment court program.
"The difference is that NFL players have doctors on the sidelines.  These guys get multiple concussions and they're not diagnosed, and they're not treated, and they have multiple deployments.  The brain injury becomes worse and worse and worse," she said.
"When they come back, they don't know where or how to seek treatment, or they think it's sissy to seek treatment."
With this program, Judge Stedham can order treatment for the veterans whose "invisible injuries" cause problems.  There is a screening process to determine which cases are appropriate for the Veterans Treatment Court.
"First they plead guilty to whatever their charge is and they understand what the penalties will be if they don't successfully complete.  They have to appear once a week in my court and report on their progress," Stedham said.
Participants must complete a year-long process which requires them to pass regular drug tests, attend counseling, and meet with other veterans who will serve as mentors, called Battle Buddies.
"If they do those things, and continue to either stay employed or get an education and fill their time with healthy activities and receive the treatment that they need, then they're good with me," Stedham said.
Failure to complete the program will be punished with jail time.  Judge Stedham said there are currently two Calhoun County veterans facing 10 years in prison whom she believes are cases for the special court program.  She said they can pay their debts to society through treatment instead of jail.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Poll shows most U.S. parents happy with schools

    Poll shows most U.S. parents happy with schools

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:18 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:18:23 GMT
    A new survey indicates that a majority of parents in the United States with children in public school systems would rate the quality of their children's schools as above average. Among those polled, 66 percent of parents would rate the quality of their child's school as above average or excellent. However, looking deeper in the demographics shows that minority parents are more likely to believe their children's school is average or worse.The study was released by Vox Populi Polling.
    A new survey indicates that a majority of parents in the United States with children in public school systems would rate the quality of their children's schools as above average. Among those polled, 66 percent of parents would rate the quality of their child's school as above average or excellent. However, looking deeper in the demographics shows that minority parents are more likely to believe their children's school is average or worse.The study was released by Vox Populi Polling.
  • Video appears to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS

    Video appears to show beheading of US journalist Steven Sotloff by ISIS

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:15:56 GMT
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.
    An Internet video purports to show the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff by the Islamic State group.
  • Halliburton reaches $1.1Billion oil spill settlement

    Halliburton reaches $1.1Billion oil spill settlement

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 10:11 AM EDT2014-09-02 14:11:01 GMT
    Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will be paid into a trust until appeals are resolved over the next two years.
    Halliburton says it has agreed to pay $1.1 billion to settle a substantial portion of plaintiff claims arising from the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. The settlement, which is subject to court approval, will be paid into a trust until appeals are resolved over the next two years.
  • Anniston - Gadsden Area NewsMore>>

  • Deputies in Etowah County arrest three women for chemical endangerment

    Deputies in Etowah County arrest three women for chemical endangerment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 7:47 PM EDT2014-09-02 23:47:56 GMT
    The Etowah County sheriff's office arrested three women for chemical endangerment of a child. Investigators charged 28-year-old Ashton Lauren Wood, 25-year-old Jessica Amber Abner and 24-year-old Keeley Elizabeth McCain. Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeremy Lasseter say Wood and her baby both tested positive for amphetamines following the baby's birth. Her bond is set at $10,000. Wood will be supervised by Community corrections and must comply with DHR requirements. She will not be allowed to make ...
    The Etowah County sheriff's office arrested three women for chemical endangerment of a child. Investigators charged 28-year-old Ashton Lauren Wood, 25-year-old Jessica Amber Abner and 24-year-old Keeley Elizabeth McCain. Sheriff's Office Deputy Jeremy Lasseter say Wood and her baby both tested positive for amphetamines following the baby's birth. Her bond is set at $10,000. Wood will be supervised by Community corrections and must comply with DHR requirements. She will not be allowed to make ...
  • Clean out your cabinets for Drug Take-Back Day

    Clean out your cabinets for Drug Take-Back Day

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:38 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:38:07 GMT
    Do you have a drawer or cabinet of medicines? Are any of them out of date? Now is the time to check because you can safely dispose of the medications at the Etowah County Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It is part of a nationwide effort. The event will be Saturday, September 27. A take-back station will be set up at the East Gadsden Walmart from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.A law enforcement officer will remain with the drug disposal box at all times, and the drugs that are turned in will be tr...
    Do you have a drawer or cabinet of medicines? Are any of them out of date? Now is the time to check because you can safely dispose of the medications at the Etowah County Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. It is part of a nationwide effort. The event will be Saturday, September 27. A take-back station will be set up at the East Gadsden Walmart from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.A law enforcement officer will remain with the drug disposal box at all times, and the drugs that are turned in will be tr...
  • Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Arrest made in large level extortion scheme

    Friday, August 29 2014 12:45 PM EDT2014-08-29 16:45:16 GMT
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.
    "Everett Leon Stout, 72 and Miriam Clair Schultz, 67 are charged with 14 counts of extortion.
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSET. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.