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1 RETIRED JUSTICE EVELYN LUNDBERG STRATTON'S VETERANS' CRIMINAL JUSTICE & MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES NEWS 01 MARCH 2015 Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton, Retired Veterans in the Courts Initiative Evelyn Lundberg Stratton retired from the Ohio Supreme Court at the end of 2012 so as to pursue more fully criminal justice reforms with a particular emphasis on veterans who become involved with the justice system. She established the Veterans in the Courts Initiative in Video Total Number of Direct Professional Readers: 1,932 Fast Links: Featured Stories, Funding Opportunities, VA/DOD, Ohio, Veterans Courts, PTS/TBI/MST, Suicide, General News, Events, Jobs & Training, Veterans-In-Justice, LinkedIn, Legal Assistance, Resources, Join Newsletter/Disclaimer, Contact, Newsletter Achieve FEATURED STORIES DOJ Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Program FY 2015 Competitive Grant Announcement Through RFA BJA , the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) seeks proposals to plan, implement, or expand a justice and mental health collaboration program for people with mental illnesses, or co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders, who come into contact with the justice system. Award amounts and project duration vary, depending on focus area of the proposed project. Proposals are due by April 14. Pacific Standard: Can PTSD Be Linked to Violence? Editor's Note: A lengthy discussion of the use of PTSD as a criminal defense for a veteran with several recent cases cited. This article was written before Eddie Ray Routh was found guilty of the death of Chris Kyle and another veteran. STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE ROBERT A. MCDONALD SECRETARY OF VETERANS AFFAIRS FOR PRESENTATION BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON VETERANS AFFAIRS BUDGET REQUEST FOR FISCAL YEAR 2016, FEBRUARY 26, The 2016 Budget for VA requests $168.8 billion -- $73.5 billion in discretionary funds, including medical care collections, and $95.3 billion in mandatory funds for Veterans benefits programs. The discretionary request reflects an increase of $5.2 billion (7.5 percent) above the 2015 enacted level. The budget also requests a 2017 AA for Medical Care of $63.3 billion and a first-time AA request of $104.0 billion for three mandatory accounts that support veterans benefit payments (i.e., Compensation and Pensions, Readjustment Benefits, and Insurance and Indemnities). 1 of 36

2 The American Legion Commander to Congress: We face historic opportunities In a hearing room packed with more than 300 veterans and their families, American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm laid out a wide-ranging legislative agenda before members and leadership of the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs. The prevailing concern, Helm told the lawmakers, is transition assistance. Helm called for action to expand VA-recognized treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI). He cited 2014 American Legion survey results that showed 59 percent of PTSD-TBI patients felt no improvement as a result of their VA treatment plans and 30 percent had quit their plans altogether because they did not work SAMHSA FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES Up to $180 Million for System of Care Expansion and Sustainability Cooperative Agreements The purpose of this program is to improve mental health outcomes for children and youth (birth to 21 years of age) with serious emotional disturbances and their families. Nearly $51.5 Million Available for Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Health Professions Student Training Grants This program develops and implements training programs to teach students in health professions evidence-based screening and brief intervention skills. It also instructs them on how to refer patients who are at risk for a substance use disorder to appropriate treatment. Up to $45.5 Million for Grants To Help States Provide Services to Prevent Homelessness The program aims to enhance or develop the infrastructure of states and their treatment service systems to provide accessible, comprehensive, coordinated, and evidence-based treatment and support services. Up to $33.9 Million Available for SAMHSA Treatment Drug Courts Grants This program aims to expand and/or enhance substance abuse treatment services in existing adult and family "problem solving" courts, which use the treatment drug court model in order to provide alcohol and drug treatment to defendants/offenders. VA/DOD DOD reduces Electronic Health Records Contract list to 3 vendors The Department of Defense has narrowed the bids for the $11B DoD EHR Modernization Project to three finalist teams, which include EHR vendors Allscripts, Cerner and Epic. PricewaterhouseCooper s bid with Google, DSS, Inc., MedSphere Open Source EHR and systems integrator General Dynamics Information Technology was eliminated by the DoD, according to Politico. Also, the smaller team Intersystems Trak Care was eliminated from the competition. WILL FIXING VA.GOV BE DIGITAL TEAM'S FIRST PRIORITY? The Department of Veterans Affairs is one of the first federal agencies to have its own inhouse digital service squad. But the small team of coders and designers clearly has more work to do: The agency's main website placed dead last in a recent survey of federal websites. VA s score of 56 out of 100 points indicates website visitors were dissatisfied with its services, and the site has much room for improvement, according to the ForeSee E- 2 of 36

3 Government Satisfaction Index. Statement from Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald on Oscar Win for HBO Documentary Highlighting Life-Saving Work of Veterans Crisis Line Washington Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert A. McDonald issued the following statement on the Oscar win for the HBO documentary CRISIS HOTLINE: VETERANS PRESS 1. We are pleased that this film has highlighted the challenges our Veterans can face and the work of our dedicated Veterans Crisis Line staff to save lives and get Veterans into care, said VA Secretary Robert McDonald. We are hopeful that this documentary will help raise awareness of this important issue with the American public. Our Veterans in crisis need to know that there is hope and asking for help makes them stronger. VA employee reforms, good or not, could be road map for other agencies (WP) Rep. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) doesn t need a commission or another report. He chairs a congressional committee. He is using that powerful perch to remake the civil service at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) one step at a time. It is an effort that has implications, some better than others, for the federal workforce generally. Miller said he hopes his colleagues use his legislation as a template to look into other agencies within the federal government. As chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, Miller led the revelations last year into the coverup of long patient wait times at veterans facilities. Through a relentless series of hearings, he exposed dismal, sometimes scandalous VA management practices, including widespread retaliation against whistleblowers. The scandal forced out the previous secretary. VA Employees to Hold Demonstration at St. Petersburg VA Regional Office Feb 27th Department of Veterans Affairs employees (VA) will hold a demonstration at the St. Petersburg VA Regional Office to shed light on the culture of retaliation and need for improved working conditions at the facility. In the aftermath of the termination of AFGE Local 1594 Executive Vice President Javier Soto for reporting waste, fraud, abuse and mismanagement, members of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 1594, say the environment, steeped with employee intimidation tactics and gross mismanagement, must change immediately. VA Secretary Robert McDonald admits lying about Special Forces service, apologizes (Fox News) Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert McDonald on Tuesday apologized for lying about serving in the special operations forces in a conversation with a homeless veteran that was caught on camera earlier this year. McDonald graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1975 and completed Army Ranger training before being assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division until his retirement in According to the Huffington Post, while McDonald was formally recognized as a graduate of Ranger School, he never actually served in a Ranger battalion or other special operations unit. "I have no excuse," the website quoted McDonald as saying in its report. "I was not in special forces." 3 of 36

4 New VA scandal: CBS News finds thousands of vets' benefit claims discarded FEBRUARY 25, 2015, 7:32 AM Last summer's scandal at a Phoenix VA hospital rocked the Department of Veterans Affairs. CBS News investigations revealed widespread manipulation of appointment wait times. Now, CBS News has uncovered similar mismanagement within the Veterans Benefits Administration. Wyatt Andrews reports. WRJVA Gets New Women s Program Manager Due to the rising number of women in the military, specialized care for women Veterans is becoming increasingly important and as you know our changing demographics has led to the opening of White River Junction VA Medical Center s Comprehensive Women s Care Center in October White River Junction VA Medical Center is excited to announce that the facility has a new Women Veterans Program Manager, Carey Russ VA TOWN HALL MEETINGS & OTHER EVENTS NEW Columbus VA Town Hall 03 MAR Miami VAMC Town Hall 05 MAR NEW VA Pittsburgh HCS Town Hall & 06 MAR Resource Fair VA Palo Alto HCS Town Halls 06 MAR MAR 2015 Edward Hines VA Hospital Town Hall 10 MAR NEW VA Long Beach HCS & Los 10 MAR Angeles Regional Benefits Office VA San Francisco Town Hall 11 MAR Tuscaloosa VAMC Town Hall 11 MAR St. Cloud VA HCS Town Hall Meeting 11 MAR Iowa City VAHCS Town Hall 11 MAR NEW Louisville VAMC Town Hall 12 MAR NEW VA Western NY HCS Town Hall 16 MAR Cleveland VMAC & Town Hall 18 MAR Hines VAH Community Resource Fair 25 MAR NEW VA Western NY HCS 28 MAR Employment & Education Fair for Veterans & Spouses Minneapolis VAHCS Town Hall 30 MAR NEW Huntington VAMC Town Hall 31 MAR JUN 2015 NEW Salisbury VAMC Couple's APR Retreat Dublin, Georgia VA Town Hall 26 MAR JUN SEP 2015 NEW Boise VAMC All Veterans 27 JUN Welcome Home 2015 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival OCT VAOIG Reports Healthcare Inspection Radiology Scheduling and Other Administrative Issues, Phoenix VA 4 of 36

5 Health Care System, Phoenix, Arizona Review of Alleged Data Manipulation at the VA Regional Office Little Rock, Arkansas Combined Assessment Program Review of the Beckley VA Medical Center, Beckley, West Virginia OHIO Portman Calls for Inpatient Care for Veterans in the Central Ohio Region Comes in Response to Feedback from Veteran Town Hall Meeting Washington, D.C. - This week, U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) urged the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish inpatient care for veterans in the Central Ohio region. With no Columbus location, veterans and their families are currently forced to travel across the state to Cincinnati and Dayton to receive inpatient care. Portman's recommendation comes in response from direct feedback from Columbus-area veterans during a series of town hall meetings he hosted over the past summer to focus on VA issues. "In June 2014, I hosted a veteran town hall at the Columbus VA Care Center. During that forum, the most consistent message I heard was the dire need for inpatient services and the major inconvenience it is for veterans and their families to have to travel across the state to Cincinnati and Dayton to receive inpatient care," Portman wrote in a letter to VA Secretary Robert McDonald. "I look forward to working with your agency to address this issue and ensure veterans in Ohio have the necessary services. I thank you for considering all options and to include consideration of building an inpatient bed tower at the current location or contracting for inpatient services at local hospitals in Central Ohio." The full letter is below and a copy of the letter can be found here<http://www.portman.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/files/serve?file_id=93b788fa-7c7f- 4efc-86f4-e8f7965ccda2> Research: Researchers in Cleveland VA Medical Center make prosthetic hand which can 'feel' and 'touch' CLEVELAND - Igor Spetic was blindfolded in the test as he moved his prosthetic hand across a table as he attempted to pick up cubes about the size of walnuts. But he could not feel the cubes because he was working with the artificial hand to which he had been fitted. However, when engineers turned on a small power source, his prosthetic fingers came to life. Although blindfolded, Spetic felt every cube and worked the fingers on the prosthesis to grab each one and set it aside. It was a huge medical and engineering accomplishment which took place in the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center, where Spetic is a client working with biomedical engineers who developed the hand. The hand is wired into his arm where more wires are attached to his nerves. When a small electrical power is turned on, Spetic mentally commands his fingers to grasp, hold, or pick up an object. In addition, Spetic actually "feels" the touch of his prosthetic fingers. "A lot of people take touch and feel for granted," said Spetic, 40, of Cleveland. "Until you lose it, you don't know what it is that you miss it," he said while biomedical engineers adjusted the wires to his prosthesis in the laboratory. Spetic's right hand was severed in an industrial accident four years ago. Biomedical engineers working for both the VA and 5 of 36

6 Case Western Reserve University found him to be an ideal candidate for their research. At the Cleveland VA Center for Excellence in Functional Electrical Stimulation, researchers are conducting experiments with Spetic and another man who lost his hand. When the electrical stimulus is turned off, Spetic likens the prosthesis to a tool at the end of his arm. "It's like a hammer or a screwdriver," he said. "But when the stimulus is on, it becomes my hand." Ohio Supreme Court certifies local veterans court in Montgomery County Dayton --The growing MOntgomery County Common Please Veterans Court Docket was recently certified by the Ohio Supreme Court.To get certified by the Ohio Supreme Court s Commission on Specialized Dockets, the court overseen by Judge Dennis Adkins, underwent a site visit and provided specific program materials for standards that went in to effect in January Getting certification is just a recognition of all the hard work that everyone has put into this program Adkins said. The staff here at the common pleas court, the people at the Veterans Administration as well our mentors and our volunteers in the program; so all of that combined is just a great thing for them and great for everyone here and we appreciate the certification. Valor courts celebrate a year of justice for Summit County vets For many veterans, the transition back to civilian life can be rocky. In Summit County, there are valor courts to help those veterans get back on their feet. On the first anniversary of the Summit County Valor Courts creation held Thursday, Feb. 12 at the Veterans Services Commission in Akron, Bailiff Jonathan M. Groza, who served as master of ceremonies, emphasized the importance of this special dockets court at a ceremony honoring the courts creators, mentors and volunteers. Many of our veterans return to civilian life with serious trauma while serving our country, Groza said. In many cases, we have discovered that veterans try to cope with these issues through activities which lead them to be involved with the criminal justice system. The mission of the valor courts, Groza said, is to provide specialized treatment and support in a non-adversarial approach to individuals with military service involved in the court system. With the awareness that tax dollars are limited and that certain veterans need more than incarceration, Groza said the valor courts came about throught the combined efforts of Summit County Common Pleas Valor Court Judge Amy Corrigall Jones and Akron Municipal Valor Courts Judge Jerry K. Larson. Judge s long-planned vets court takes a step forward in Athens County A special-docket veterans court long in the planning held its first organizational meeting last week, Athens County Common Pleas Court Judge George P. McCarthy announced in a news release. McCarthy has been looking to establish Athens County's first veterans court since last year. Those in attendance at the organizational meeting for the new veterans court included representatives from Health Recovery Services, Hopewell Health Centers, the Athens Police Department, the Ohio University Police Department, the Veterans Service Office, the Athens 6 of 36

7 County Work Station, the county Prosecutor's Office, the Athens branch of the Ohio Public Defenders Office, and the Treatment Alternatives to Street Crime (T.A.S.C.), the release said. "The meeting went very well and there was a lot of enthusiasm for the project," McCarthy commented. "There is a lot of support for moving forward." Ohio National Guard's Clergy outreach initiative Greetings, Ohio Faith-Community Leader, We invite you to join the Ohio National Guard's Clergy outreach initiative. This outreach is generally comprised of three parts: 1. Quarterly Clergy Working Group meetings: Purpose: To build awareness about and promote sensitivity to the spiritual and personal needs of service members and their families and engage civilian clergy, congregations, ministerial agencies and affiliated organizations in support of their tangible needs. See attached the meeting minutes from the Jan 2015 meeting and invitations to the next two meetings - 23 APR VA's clergy training workshop in Columbus and 23 July meeting in North Canton. All faith community leaders are welcome, both formal and volunteer. 2. Partnership with the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Affairs Ambulatory Care Center Chaplain's Office in Columbus. See the invitation/registration to the 23 APR clergy training workshop. All faith community leaders are welcome, both formal and volunteer. 3. Partnership with H.E.R.O.E.S. Care. This is a community-based hometown support program designed to meet the TANGIBLE needs of service members and their families with the goal of preventing and mitigating the psychological, moral, and spiritual injuries that often accompany deployment and/or other stressors of military service. Please see the attached brochure and workshop invitation for 25 APR in Columbus; additional trainings are anticipated in the Cincinnati and Canton areas. A congregation does not have to have a Stephen Ministry to participate in these trainings. Please let me know if you have questions. Warm regards, Kathy Kathy Lowrey, LtCol OHANG Director of Community Outreach Ohio National Guard 2825 West Dublin-Granville Rd Columbus, Ohio office phone: (614) office fax: (614) calendar of events: ong.ohio.gov/outreach/outreach_index.html Veterans Resource Fair attracts nearly 500 attendees The Ohio Department of Veterans Services and the Ohio National Guard partnered to host a resource fair in Wilmington, Ohio, which provided Ohio's veterans with many resources to 7 of 36

8 help gain employment as well as opportunities to meet with civilian companies that are hiring. The Supreme Court of Ohio Specialized Dockets Newsletter, February 27, News SPECIALIZED DOCKETS CERTIFICATION LIST An updated list of certified specialized dockets has been posted to our webpage. This list will be updated after each new commission date votes on final certification. View the Specialized Docket Certification Status Sheet. UPDATED CERTIFICATION APPLICATION The certification application has been updated and posted to our webpage. Please use the updated application to apply for certification. View thecertification Application. SAMHSA'S GAINS CENTER SELECTS 10 COMMUNITIES FOR TRAUMA TRAINING DRUG COURTS LAW YOU CAN USE: DRUG COURTS REDUCE CRIME WHILE SAVING TIME, MONEY AND RESOURCES LOGAN DAILY NEWS GUEST COLUMN VETERANS TREATMENT COURT NEWS THEIR OWN COURT HELPING VETERANS GOING THROUGH CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM TOLEDO, OHIO-BASED NONPROFIT HELPS VETERANS RECLAIM THEIR LIVES BY COVERING RENT DEPOSITS STARS & STRIPES US GOVERNMENT AGENCIES TO OUTLINE FUTURE DIRECTIONS IN TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY AND PTSD RESEARCH, FUNDING AT 2015 TBI CONFERENCE RETURN THE SERVICE CAMPAIGN SPOTLIGHTS JUSTICE FOR VETS AND VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS VETERANS TREATMENT COURTS NY: D.A. supports creation of Staten Island Veterans Treatment Court; seeks non-jail alternatives 8 of 36

9 STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Veterans Treatment Courts offer non-jail alternatives to military veterans convicted of nonviolent crimes who suffer from mental-health and substance-abuse issues. Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens each have Veterans Treatment Courts, which connect veterans dealing with those challenges to services that can help them. District Attorney Daniel Donovan believes Staten Island should have a Veterans Treatment Court, too. NY: Supporters of Veteran Treatment Courts Look to Manhattan to Join Other Boroughs By the time winter gives way to spring this year, a new court house in Staten Island will open and, in a first for the borough, it will include a Veteran Treatment Court. The court will offer a specially designed program to help mentor and treat military veterans in the court system. Not every veteran qualifies for the rigorous month drug treatment course, but the results have, thus far, been positive elsewhere. That will leave Manhattan as the only borough without a Veteran Treatment Court and there is not a clear answer as to why. TN: Commission panel endorses Veterans Court project MURFREESBORO County commissioners this week endorsed the pilot launch of a Veterans Court. "I just think it's a great idea, especially with some of our veterans coming back" from war and suffering, Commissioner Jeff Phillips said during a Rutherford County Commission Public Safety Committee meeting Monday night. "It appears to be a growing problem in our society." The pilot Veterans Court will start out serving veterans who are participating in the county's Drug Court and DUI (driving under the influence of alcohol) Court, said Trey King, the coordinator for the courts. Idaho: Twin Falls Court System Set To Include Veteran's Court On Wednesday the Twin Falls County Commissioners met to discuss the possibility of creating a Veterans Court in District 5. "A lot of these Veterans are entered into those courts. But we've found out that we need to specialize it in case they have PTSD of they have just a special part where a veteran can help a veteran," said Twin Falls County commissioner Leon Mills. The new Veteran s Court system would be completely funded by the federal government and veterans services. The hope is to get this program up and running by October of this year. It would encompass the entire magic valley. GA: Chatham-Savannah Veterans Treatment Court graduates first class One of the graduates say he is so glad they went through the program. "The privilege and honor that someone cared enough about us to help us with our situation, to help us with our recovery, to help us try to become a more productive and a better person in life, that's what it's all about," said Thomas Millage. Participants who graduated on Thursday went through a 24-month long program in order to officially graduate from the Veterans Treatment Court. MN: Ramsey County Veterans Court is seeking veterans to serve as volunteer mentors The Ramsey County Veterans Court is seeking veterans to serve as volunteer mentors to its participants. Veterans who opt to participate (as defendants in the Veterans Court) are provided 9 of 36

10 coordinated support from a team that includes judges, attorneys, probation officers, law enforcement and veterans services staff. Each participant also is assigned a volunteer veteran mentor for one-onone work as a coach, guide, role model and advocate. MN: Iraq veteran hired as new assistant service officer Luke Weinandt's life has been a series of firsts. He was one of the first soldiers to be deployed to Iraq in 2003 and one of the first to return home, in He was the first veteran of the Iraq War to be hired by the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans (MAC- V), and now, he is the first assistant veterans' service officer for Faribault County. Weinandt works alongside Faribault County Veterans' Service Officer Dave Hanson to provide veterans in the county with the guidance and assistance they need.... In Blue Earth County alone, he helped to build and plan the structure of the multi-county veterans court, supervised the Homeless Veterans' Reintegration Program and served as a lobbyist to advocate for the restructuring of the GI Bill. Drug courts addicted to ignorance Drug courts have two kinds of cases: Case one is a person caught with illegal drugs. Case two is a person caught committing a crime in order to get money to buy drugs. Proper medical treatment stops both kinds of cases, but local drug courts won't order treatment if medicine is involved. Instead, they order defendants to summon more willpower. Most defendants can't do that. They "fail" drug court time and time again. They wind up in prison or die when they relapse. Michigan: Chief Justice highlighted successful outcomes of Michigan s 164 problemsolving courts. Young highlighted the successful outcomes of Michigan s 164 problem-solving courts. The governor s budget recommendation includes support for these specialized courts that divert carefully screened offenders into treatment programs, avoiding costly jail and prison time. For example, graduates of sobriety and mental health courts are three times less likely to reoffend within two years, while drug court participants are two times less likely to reoffend. I urge you to attend a graduation ceremony at one of these courts, especially the veterans treatment courts, said Young, noting that Michigan leads the nation with 20 of these courts. You will hear powerful stories about how graduates lives were saved because these courts and the dedicated judges who lead them gave the participants direction and a second chance. MI: Reaching out: Veterans Treatment Track Marks First Anniversary Jackson County is doing its part to help. The Veterans Treatment Track an interagency, collaborative, treatment strategy within the Jackson County Recovery Court program celebrated its first anniversary in January. The court meets at 2 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of each month in Judge Susan Beebe s courtroom, 5th floor, Jackson County Courthouse. I believe the district courts are key because they are the ones that will see the young veterans first, typically as first offenders, says David Van Hoof, coordinator of the Veteran Mentor Program. The circuit court usually won t see them until they have committed two or more violations. We hope to, in the near future, streamline the process. Currently 10 veterans are in the program, benefiting from VA screening, long term treatment 10 of 36

11 and support from professionals who monitor their progress. Could Florida Do A Better Job At Helping Veterans With Mental Health Issues? Could Florida do a better job at helping veterans who have mental health issues? Some experts seem think so, like Miami-Dade County Circuit Judge Steve Leifman. He s the chairman of the Florida Supreme Court Task Force on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Issues in the Court. He says Florida has the fastest growing veterans population which now is about 1.7 million. 12 percent of everyone over 18 years of age in Florida is a veteran, said Leifman. And, because of these last two very difficult conflicts, we re looking at possibly 51,000 veterans in Florida with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or traumatic brain injury, which puts them at very high risk of criminal justice activity. Okaloosa County Court Judge Patt Maney is a Veterans Court judge. He says as a wounded vet in Afghanistan who suffered a traumatic brain injury, he knows firsthand what it feels like for many of the vets he sees in his courtroom. And, he adds the legislature needs to look at expanding eligibility for the court. We have excluded a large number of people who need our services, said Maney. If you get out and then get charged with marijuana, you can come into Veterans Court. But, if you re dealing with your PTSD while still on active duty, you can t. There are now 21 Veterans Courts in Florida, and Maney says more are needed. NEW Veterans Benefits Info Fair at George Mason University Law School, March 14th, Arlington, VA A Veterans Information Fair will be held at GMU Law School in Arlington, Saturday, March 14, 10am-3pm. The DAV, American Legion, GMU School of Law, Dept of Veterans Affairs and the VA Medical Center are partnering for this opportunity to learn about benefits, apply for benefits with Service Officer assistance, make appointments at the DC VA Medical Center, and enroll in E-Benefits. Other organizations and agencies will have information tables at the event. Please pass the word about this event. A pdf is attached. Agencies or organizations should contact Garrett Vanpelt at the Law School. The Law School is located just 2 blocks from either Clarendon or Virginia Square-GMU Metro stations. Parking is at a premium in the neighborhood. List & Summary of National Proposed Veteran Legislation Summary of current veterans legislation in the U.S. House & U.S. Senate CA: Special courts take on criminal cases of veterans struggling with trauma VA San Francisco SFVAMC: Check out this PBS NewsHour segment on the SF Veterans Justice Court and the work the VA does for homeless veterans. INFORMATION: California Sentencing Alternatives for Military Veterans Under Penal Code Since 1982, with the enactment of Penal Code , our state legislature has recognized the unique needs of military veterans in dealing with California s sentencing guidelines. In 11 of 36

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