Tribal Veterans Courts KIMBERLY CROMWELL. and MARY E. GUSS

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1 Tribal Veterans Courts by KIMBERLY CROMWELL and MARY E. GUSS The University of Arizona NativeNet Professional Development Series is designed to provide practical advice on a variety of topics for those working with and for tribal governments. The series is issued jointly by the University of Arizona s Indigenous Peoples Law & Policy Program (IPLP), the Native Nations Institute for Leadership, Management and Policy (NNI) and the Native Peoples Technical Assistance Office (NPTAO). Series Editor Melissa Tatum Director, IPLP The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS History and Background of Veterans Courts... p. 1 I. Introduction... p. 3 II. Overview of How a Veterans Court Works... p. 5 III. Mission and Goals... p. 7 IV. Veterans Court Policies... p. 10 V. Case Flow... p. 19 VI. Court Team... p. 22 VII. Resources... p. 27 Further Reading and Resources... p. 28 Appendices A - G... p. 29 Should you choose to address matters discussed in this guide that require the assistance of an attorney, this booklet can serve as a foundation for facilitating discussions regarding these matters. This book is not meant to constitute legal advice or to substitute for the advice of a qualified attorney on legal matters.

3 I. INTRODUCTION Veterans have made profound sacrifices for our country and as a result face many severe, challenging and often lifelong issues. Most will never encounter the criminal justice system, but for the minority who do, the veterans treatment court is a way to intervene, provide support and assistance and hold our veterans accountable for their actions while continuing to view them with respect and dignity. -- Donna Brown, Veterans treatment courts a step forward, Special to the Bangor Daily News (March 26, 2012) A veterans court is a specialized court that allows veteran participants charged with a criminal offense to voluntarily participate in a judicially supervised treatment plan. These courts serve veteran participants who suffer from a serious mental health disease and/or substance abuse. In most such programs, once a veteran participant pleads guilty or no contest to at least one charge, he or she is diverted to a treatment program. His or her progress is monitored throughout the duration of the program by regular appearances in court. Successful completion of the treatment program results in dismissal of charges or reduced charges. Veterans courts arose out of a recognition that veterans returning from deployments frequently had post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, or other mental health issues that they were treating themselves via drugs or alcohol. Their use of drugs and alcohol resulted in such things as homelessness, unemployment, and failed relationships, as well as criminal charges. The latter would bring them into contact with regular criminal courts, or possibly mental health and drug treatment courts. Ultimately a number of those courts recognized that what veterans truly needed was treatment and access to services for their underlying problems and unique situation, not criminal prosecution and criminal records. The total number of veterans courts operating across the US today is rapidly approaching 100. Almost half of all US states now have at least one veterans court, from Buffalo, New York to Minneapolis/St. Paul, to Tucson, Arizona, to Los Angeles. Considering that the first veterans court took shape in Anchorage, Alaska in 2004, this pace of growth is remarkable. In some state jurisdictions, veterans courts have been created through the work and efforts of judges; in others the legislature has passed laws creating them or allowing for their creation. The states which currently have veterans court laws on the books are Illinois, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Texas and Virginia. Sample language from some of these statutes appears in text boxes in the body of this Guidebook, as does explanatory language from the brochures of many of the country s veterans courts. Page 3

4 15. Authorization. The Chief Judge of each judicial circuit may establish a Veterans and Service members Court program including a format under which it operates under this Act. The Veterans and Service members Court may, at the discretion of the Chief Judge, be a separate court or a program of a drug court within the Circuit. (Citation to IL statutes) A court may establish an appropriate program for the treatment of veterans and members of the military to which it may assign a defendant pursuant to NRS 176A.290. The assignment must include the terms and conditions for successful completion of the program and provide for progress reports at intervals set by the court to ensure that the defendant is making satisfactory progress towards completion of the program. Nevada Revised Statutes 176A 280 To date no Indian nations are known to have created their own veterans courts. This guide is designed to provide interested tribes with information necessary to establish such a court and to process cases involving veteran offenders through their court system. This guide provides general guidance on a tribal veterans court's mission and goals, the court team's duties and responsi-bilities, the court's policies and procedures, and the veterans mentoring program, resources. At heart, a veterans court is very similar to wellness courts, therapeutic courts and drug courts, which a tribe may already have in place. A tribal court can use all or any part of these guidelines the create a veterans court or use them to supplement court rules, policies, and procedures it currently has in place. Page 4

5 The statistics concerning veterans are alarming: [In the US] [t]here are approximately 23.4 million veterans, 1.7 million of whom served in Iraq or Afghanistan. As much as one-third of the nation's homeless population has served in the armed forces, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Nearly half of all homeless vets suffer from some sort of mental illness, and 75 percent struggle with substance abuse. (From Identi-Lifting? Talking about Veterans Courts Memorial Day Weekend, by Logan Nakyanzi Pollard, found at: The National Native American Veterans Association estimates that 22 percent of Native Americans 18 years or older are veterans. (http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/hud?src=/program_offices/public_indian_housin g/ih/codetalk/onap/veterans) By contrast, the average of all states veterans population is just over 12. (http://www.statemaster.com/graph/peo_per_of_civ_pop_who_are_vet-percent-civi II. OVERVIEW OF HOW A VETERANS COURT WORKS Veterans court are not set up as separate court systems. They operate within a regular court or a therapeutic court, but handle a separate docket dealing with specific cases. Courts differ somewhat on what kinds of cases will be accepted into veterans court. Some accept only misdemeanors or cases not involving violence. Other courts will accept violent offenses or felonies often on a case by case basis. Almost all require a diagnosis of some form of military-service- related mental illness or the existence of substance abuse issues. Anyone who is eligible for veterans benefits is initially eligible for veterans court, but they need to go through an application and screening process to be accepted. Once a charged veteran expresses an interest in veterans court often after a judge learns that the defendant before her is a veteran or defense counsel learns that he is representing a veteran the referral and screening process begins. In some veterans courts the initial eligibility determination is made by a court screener while in others it is done by the VA. For the case of an eligible participant to be ultimately handled through the veterans court, all parties must agree the prosecutor, the defendant, and the court (through the judge or assigned court staff). After initial eligibility is determined, a treatment plan designed to benefit the specific needs of the veteran is created. This is the plan that the veteran agrees to abide by and complete. Page 5

6 Veterans courts are strictly voluntary for the veteran. Often the individual must plead guilty to at least one charge in order to go forward with their treatment plan. In other veterans courts, the charges are deferred pending successful completion of the program. If successful, the veteran will have their criminal case dismissed or their sentence reduced at the completion of the program. In addition, they will have received treatment and services for their underlying mental health and physical health needs, substance abuse, benefits qualification, housing and any other particular issue facing them. After eligible veterans are identified, assessed, and referred to the veterans treatment court, they are then linked with a program of services fashioned to meet their individual needs. (Veterans Treatment Courts Developing Throughout the Nation, Hon. Robert T. Russell, found at contentdm.ncsonline.org/cgi-bin/showfile.exe?cisroot=spcts&cisoptr=204.) [QQQ need to provide examples of what types of services and programs are involved] The Anchorage Veterans Court is a specialized court designed to facilitate the rehabilitation of eligible veterans who are charged with criminal offenses. The court provides judicial monitoring coupled with alternative sentencing plea agreements to help eligible veterans succeed with their own rehabilitation and return to a productive law-abiding lifestyle, thereby reducing crime and its costs to society. - The Anchorage Veterans Court brochure Veterans who agree or apply to have their cases handled through veterans courts spend anywhere between six and 24 months being monitored and mentored as they complete their agreed-upon program. They pursue the treatment plan that has been set up to meet their particular needs. During their time with the veterans court they regularly report in person to detail their progress to the judge. Successes are rewarded while slips may result in a few days in jail, more time in the program or complete removal from the program. The length of time spent in the veterans court program is longer than many of these veterans would face if they simply plead guilty to the underlying charge and served any resulting sentence. But the problem with doing that is that at the end of serving the sentence they find themselves back in the community with the same challenges they went in with, compounded by the latest offense. Veterans courts offer them a way to move forward and actually change their lives for the better. One of the most important things that veterans courts do is connect the individuals involved with the services available from their nearest Veterans Administration (VA) center. Many returning veterans Page 6

7 do now know or do not take advantage of all the services available there, whether those are mental health or alcohol or family related. These services can continue beyond the end of the treatment plan created in the veterans court process, and can continue to be of great help to the veteran. Perhaps the biggest key to the success of veterans court is the mentor program. Mentors are volunteers, all ex-military themselves, who serve as liaison, advocate and guide to fellow Veterans as they work to address issues related to their criminal case. (Philadelphia Veterans Court Mentor program brochure, p. 2, found at Brochure-Mentor-Program.pdf) Mentors are expected to attend court sessions with their mentees, to check in with them regularly, to be available to answer questions and listen to problems. Having someone to talk with who is familiar with what they ve been through, as well as having someone s encouragement and support, makes a huge positive difference to veterans going through the veterans court process. III. MISSION AND GOALS Many of the veterans courts around the country include mission statements in their literature and/or the language creating the court. A mission statement is not mandatory, of course, but is often used to set the tone for what the court is seeks to accomplish as well as to honor those who have seen military service and will now be served by the court. Veterans courts are therapeutic courts rather than traditional courts, meaning they are designed to focus on treating a person s underlying mental health or substance abuse issues. A mission statement makes it clear to the public as well as to the people going through the veterans court that there are reasons people are referred to such a court and expectations for what they will accomplish while there. It is not a free ride, by any means. Seldom does an actual statute contain the mission statement; more often the court which is creating a niche and a process for veterans court also creates the language of the mission statement. For example, the Texas statutes provide, A veterans court program established under this chapter shall make, establish, and publish local procedures to ensure maximum participation of eligible defendants in the county or counties in which those defendants reside. [Texas Health and Safety Code, ) Thus the creating court itself writes its own mission statement. A tribal veterans court should strive to include the following mission and goals when processing a case involving a veteran. A. Mission Statement The tribe s veterans court mission is to promote wellness for American Indian veterans by providing a coordinated community response that seeks to heal, restore, and reintegrate them into their Page 7

8 communities and societies. B. Goals 1. Provide mental health and substance abuse treatment. 2. Provide guidance, support, and advice through a mentor, who can be a veteran, elder or other respected member of the community. 3. Provide ceremonies, sweat lodges, and other traditional healing and counseling methods that help promote spiritual balance and mental and physical healing. The mission of the Orange County Veterans Court is to provide an inter-agency, collaborative, nonadversarial treatment strategy for Veterans in the criminal justice system who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), psychological or substance abuse problems as a result of having served in a combat theater. Orange County (CA) Veterans Court brochure The Maricopa County Superior Court Veteran s Court is an inter-agency, collaborative effort focused on Veterans in the criminal justice system. We are guided by the principles of accountability, compassion, evidence-based practices and deliberate justice. We promote these principles by working together to provide the necessary services to address the complex issues presented by the Veteran population, by providing a support system and adhering to a court process that addresses recovery, resiliency and rehabilitation. Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County Veterans Court brochure Page 8

9 Mission To successfully habilitate veterans by diverting them from the traditional criminal justice system and providing them with the tools they need in order to lead a productive and law-abiding lifestyle. Goals & Objectives Achieve positive veteran behavior by providing a holistic and integrated set of support services... Goals of the Veterans Treatment Court: Protect the public Reduce participant contacts with the criminal justice system Reduce costs associated with the criminal justice system Introduce participants to an ongoing process of recovery designed to help them become stable, employed, and substance-free while continuing mental health care through community/peer counseling groups or the VA Madison County, IL, Veterans Treatment Court brochure Page 9

10 Veterans Court Goals: Reduce criminal recidivism Facilitate participant sobriety Increase compliance with treatment and other court ordered conditions Improve access to VA benefits and services Improve family relationships and social support connections Improve life stability. Hennepin County (MN) Veterans court brochure Goals of Veterans Court: Early identification of Veterans in the justice system Provide one integrated VeteransCourt to address issues in the justice system Establish a collaboration of City, County, State, Federal and Community Stakeholders to foster effective sharing of information and collaborative decision-making Reduce Veteran recidivism and increase the number of Veterans receiving access to services Strengthen our Community by engaging Veterans in services Assist Veterans/Probationers to successfully complete probation Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County brochure IV. VETERANS COURT POLICIES Tribal courts should develop policies that articulate which veterans are allowed to participate in tribal veterans court, how verification of their veteran status will be carried out, what criminal charges the tribal veterans court will allow on their dockets, what may cause a termination from tribal veterans court, incentives and sanctions, and what occurs when a participant successfully completes their treatment plan. Formulating policies in these areas will make it clear to the veteranparticipant, the prosecutor, the defense attorney, the judge, and other court staff what the expectations are for the tribal veterans court. Page 10

11 Below are examples of policies that tribal veterans courts could implement: A. Participant Eligibility All honorably discharged veterans, including wartime and peacetime veterans, are eligible to participate in the tribal veterans court. The veteran-participant must be an enrolled member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe. The duties and responsibilities for veterans who participate in the tribal veterans court include: Be interviewed to establish eligibility (See Appendix D) Plead guilty or no contest to at least one charge Read and sign a Consent Agreement (See Appendix E) Read and sign a Participant Pledge (See Appendix F) Be assessed/screened for required treatment, including alcohol, drug, mental health and/or medical treatment Sign forms for release of relevant medical records Actively participate in the treatment plan Attend all court sessions and treatment sessions Complete the treatment plan Do not commit any criminal offenses This list is non-exhaustive and each requirement may not apply to every veteran-particpant. What is the Veterans Court Process? The District Attorney and defense lawyer agree to allow the case into Veterans Court and a contract for participation is created.... [t]he defendant must undergo an assessment by the VA to establish treatment needs, as well as VA eligibility. If the assessment shows a treatment need and VA eligibility is verified, the defendant is officially allowed into Veterans Court. Rock County [Wisconsin] Veterans Treatment Court brochure Page 11

12 Procedures Eligible Veterans will be screened during Alternative to Jail session held Monday through Friday. Included will be those individuals who have stated to the arresting Officer that they have served in the armed forces and have been charged with eligible misdemeanor offenses which took place within the City of Tucson. The initial appearance judge will further question these individuals to find out if they wish to participate in the Veteran s Court. Those agreeing to participate will be given a court date in one of the two monthly scheduled Veteran s Court sessions. Tucson veterans court website: cms3.tucsonaz.gov/courts/veterans-court Entering the Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court program is a process: 1. You apply to the Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court. 2. The District Attorney determines your legal eligibility based upon criminal history and current charges. 3. You complete a treatment assessment to determine the level of substance abuse and/or mental health issues. 4. The court approves your legal and your clinical eligibility. 5. You review and accept the plea agreement with your attorney. 6. The Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court judge takes your plea. Tulsa Veterans Treatment Court brochure Page 12

13 B. Verification of Veteran Status A defendant must prove his or her veteran status with a DD-214. This is the Department of Defense Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. Contained in the form is information concerning the veteran and details of his or her service. If the veteran-participant does not have a DD-214, the VA representative can assist in obtaining the discharge document or the VA representative can verify to the tribal court that the defendant is a veteran. C. Criminal Charges A veteran-defendant is eligible to participate in the tribal veterans court if he or she commits a crime designated as eligible for prosecution in that court. For example, a veteran-defendant cannot participate if he or she is charged only with a traffic offense. However, if the traffic offense involves DUI, the veteran-defendant may then be eligible to participate in the tribe s veterans court. The tribal prosecutor and tribal court judge should review the tribe s criminal code to identify which criminal offenses may be prosecuted in the tribe s veterans court. All the tribe s judges, prosecutors, defense counsel and probation officers should be notified and given a list of the criminal offenses that can be prosecuted in the tribe s veterans court. Admission Criteria Cases considered for admission to the VTC include both misdemeanor and felony cases, where the Veterans Court team believes admission will protect the public and assist the Veterans and their families. Madison County, IL, Veterans Treatment Court brochure Who is eligible? The veteran must be charged with a criminal offense. A veteran charged with a felony offense will be considered on a case by case basis at this time to ensure public safety. Considerations will include the seriousness of the current offense, class of current offense, and the offender s previous criminal history. Anchorage Veterans Court brochure Page 13

14 Who is Eligible? Eligibility is evaluated by the Veterans Court team on a case-by-case basis. General requirements include: Service in the U.S. Armed Forces Charged in Hennepin County with a non-presumptive, or a non-mandatory prison case Resides in Hennepin County, or in close proximity to the Court Experiencing a treatable behavioral, mental health, or chemical health problem. Hennepin County (MN) Veterans Court brochure The eligible Veterans are those having misdemeanor charges issued within the City of Tucson except for charges involving sexual offenses or violent crimes. Tucson Veterans Court website, cms3.tucsonaz.gov/courts/veterans-court D. Termination from the Veterans Court A veteran-participant should be terminated from tribal veterans court if the veteran receives a warrant, a new arrest, violates any term of probation, or fails substantially to comply with the treatment plan. Termination may also result from other violations such as: Failure to cooperate with the probation officer Any violence or threat directed toward the court staff, treatment providers, or mentor. Violation of the participation waiver Sanctions: As a therapeutic court, graduated sanctions will be utilized. Sanctions may include journaling, court watch, peer support meetings, community service hours, work crew and jail. The ultimate sanction will be termination from the program and imposition of jail. Seattle Municipal Court Veterans Treatment Court brochure Page 14

15 Termination Process: Termination Criteria: Non compliance with the Pierce County Veterans Treatment Court Policies and Procedure could justify termination from the program. Unsuccessful Completion: Termination from the Veterans Court Program generally occurs only after graduated sanctions have been imposed and the veteran participant continues to disregard the rules of the Veterans Court Program and the orders of the Veterans Court Judge. Examples of Disregard for Program Rules: The veteran participant has shown disregard for program rules when he or she has engaged in behaviors which may include, but is not limited to, the following: Absconding from any residential or inpatient treatment facility Failing to attend treatment or therapy Tampering with alcohol or substance tests Committing criminal acts Absconding from the Veterans Court Program Grounds for Termination: Termination proceedings may be initiated at any time for a veteran participant who violates program rules. Consistent failure to follow treatment protocol and/or other conditions established specifically to try to modify the veteran participant s behaviors will constitute appropriate grounds to initiate termination proceedings. Initial Termination Hearing: Any voting Veterans Court Team member may seek an initial termination hearing. The termination hearing shall be held before the voting members of the Veterans Court Team and the veteran participant will be provided notice of the hearing, the allegations upon which the proposed termination are based, and the opportunity to be represented by an attorney during the termination hearing. The termination hearing will be conducted outside the presence of the Veterans Court Judge and will not be recorded. After the veteran participant has been advised of the allegations and has presented his or her position on the allegations, the voting Veterans Court Team members will cast their votes to retain the veteran participant in the Veterans Court Program or to recommend to the Veterans Court Judge that the veteran participant should be terminated from the Veterans Court Program. If the vote, by simple majority, is to retain the veteran participant, the suggestion of termination will be concluded and the veteran participant will remain in the Veterans Court Program. If the vote, by simple majority, is to terminate the veteran participant, written notice will be provided to the veteran participant concerning this recommendation and the date upon which the recommendation for termination will be heard in open court and on the record before the Veterans Court Judge. Pierce County (WA) Veterans Treatment Court Participant s Handbook] Page 15

16 E. Incentives and Sanctions i. Incentives A veteran-participant who complies with his or her treatment plan may receive incentives. The prosecutor, defense counsel, and the VA representative may make recommendations for incentives but all incentives are at the tribal court judge s discretion. Incentives may include: Fewer court appearances Fewer treatment sessions Fewer urine drops Fewer visits with mentor Fewer visits with probation officer Throughout participation in Veterans Treatment Court, incentives and sanctions will be used to support follow through with agreed upon goals and plans. These incentives and sanctions will be individualized according to the defendant s plans, but may include the following: INCENTIVES Positive verbal feedback and/or handshakes from the judge Certificates of completion at set intervals Gift cards Symbols of accomplishments (i.e. key chains) Decrease in number of required appearances in court Montgomery County (PA) Veterans Treatment Court, Policy and Procedure Manual Compliance Hearing - All participants are required to attend bimonthly compliance hearings. During the hearing, the progress of each participant is reviewed in open court. Both incentives and sanctions are used as methods of motivation. Brochure of the Veterans Court Diversion Program in Tarrant County (Texas) Page 16

17 ii. Sanctions The VA representative must immediately inform the tribal court clerk if the veteran-participant does not comply with his or her treatment plan. The mentor must immediately inform the tribal court clerk if he or she is aware of the veteran-participant s violation of the Consent Agreement (See Appendix E). The tribal prosecutor or defense counsel must immediately inform the tribal court clerk if the veteran-participant is served with new charges or warrants. The tribal court clerk must inform the tribal court judge of any of these violations so the judge may impose sanctions. Imposition of any sanction is within the discretion of the tribal court judge. At the next review hearing, the tribal court judge may impose the following sanctions: Upon violation of a term or condition: (a) The court may enter a judgment of conviction and proceed as provided in the section pursuant to which the defendant was charged. (b)... [T]he court may order the defendant to the custody of the Department of Corrections if the offense is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison. Nevada Revised Statutes 176A.290 Jail time Increased drug testing Community service hours Report more frequently to the probation office Report more frequently to the court Terminate participation in the program and be sentenced according to the law [V]eterans must comply with court ordered treatment and appear in court for progress assessments on a regular basis. Failure to comply will result in sanctions which can range from an admonishment all the way to termination from the program. Delaware Veterans Treatment Court brochure Page 17

18 Disposition of Court Case - The Veterans Court Diversion Program is a 6-24 month program. The period directly relates to the participant s needs and/or compliance. Upon successful completion of the program, the case(s) are dismissed. In the event the agreement is terminated, the case(s) are remanded to the court of original for continued prosecution. Tarrant County, Texas Veterans Court Diversion Program brochure F. Successful Completion A veteran-participant who successfully completes the tribe s veterans court program will have his or her charges reduced or dismissed. The veteran-participant may receive reduced fines or pay no fines. Upon successful completion of the recommended treatment plan (typically months), the original charges against the defendant are dismissed or reduced (depending on the details of the contract.) Rock County (WI) Veterans Court brochure Page 18

19 V. CASE FLOW The tribal court should include procedures for each stage of the proceedings. Below are examples: A. Offender Referral At the initial appearance, the tribal court judge will ask the defendant if he or she is a veteran and then decide whether the defendant is eligible for the tribe s veterans court. A defendant is eligible for the tribe s veterans court if he or she meets these minimum requirements: 1) The defendant is an honorably discharged veteran, 2) the defendant has been charged with an offense that has been identified as eligible for prosecution in the tribe s veterans court, 3) the defendant is an enrolled member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe, and 4) the defendant consents to participate in the tribe s veterans court. The tribal court judge should have a defendant who claims to be a veteran complete the Initial Screening Questionnaire (see Appendix D) to help determine whether the defendant is eligible for the tribe s veterans court. The tribal court judge will ask the defendant to file with the court clerk a DD 214 and proof of enrollment in a federally-recognized Indian tribe to determine eligibility for the tribe s veterans court. B. Preliminary Hearing i. Defense Counsel Appointed The veteran-participant may be appointed defense counsel at the initial appearance or soon thereafter. The defense counsel can help verify that the defendant is a veteran and explain the reasons for the tribe s veterans court and its process to the veteran-participant. ii. Verify Veteran Status If the veteran-participant does not have a DD-214, the VA representative can verify the defendant s veteran status or help the veteran obtain a DD-214. Another hearing can be set to allow time for the veteran to obtain a DD-214 or allow the VA representative to verify his or her veteran status. iii. Criminal Charges The prosecutor will also review the veteran-participant s current criminal charges to ensure that he or she has committed a crime that is eligible for prosecution in the tribe s veterans court. Page 19

20 When the defendant s veteran status is verified, the prosecutor will review the criminal charges and decide whether to approve or oppose the veteran s admission to the tribe s veterans court. The tribal court judge will make the final decision concerning whether the veteran can participate in the tribe s veterans court. iv. Defendant Opts-Out The veteran will be prosecuted as a regular criminal defendant if he or she declines to participate in the tribe s veterans court. v. Defendant Opts-In If the veteran voluntarily agrees to participate in the tribe s veterans court, the veteran-participant will sign a Consent Agreement and the Participant Pledge. (See Appendices E & F). vi. Clinical Screenings and Next Hearing Scheduled If the tribal court judge approves the veteran s participation in the tribe s veterans court, the judge will advise the VA representative to schedule clinical screenings. The judge will also schedule a review hearing to ensure that the veteran-participant has completed all clinical screenings and diagnosis. C. Clinical Screenings A veteran-participant should be screened for substance abuse, alcohol abuse, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder. The VA will be responsible for the clinical screenings, and in the case of a positive screen, further clinical assessments and treatment. D. Review Hearing The tribe s veterans court will schedule a hearing to review the VA clinical screenings, diagnosis, and any further evaluations that have been scheduled. E. Developing the Treatment Plan Each veteran-participant will receive a customized treatment plan based on his or her clinical screenings and diagnosis, and charges. The prosecutor and defense counsel will decide the treatment plan after reviewing the VA clinical screenings and diagnosis and recommendations for treatment. The judge will approve and may modify the treatment plan. Treatment plans may include: Mental Health Treatment Page 20

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