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Veterans Courts Honor And Assist Ohio’s Military Veterans

As we celebrate Veterans Day, the OACDL wants to shine a spotlight on Ohio Veterans Courts.  We have a large veteran population:  nearly one million veterans live in Ohio.  Some of them will pass through the criminal justice system.  In honor of their service to our country, and in recognition of the special challenges they face, veterans courts seek to provide effective rehabilitation opportunities for military veterans.

Ohio courts are authorized to operate ‘specialized dockets’ to assist the specific needs of the defendants participating in those programs.  The specialized dockets certified by the Ohio Supreme Court include Mental Health Courts, Drug Courts, Domestic Violence Courts, OVI Courts, and Veterans Courts. 

Veterans Courts provide participants with resources to encourage rehabilitation, discipline and overall wellness.  Those resources address issues such as mental health, substance abuse, housing, jobs and healthcare. 

To qualify for participation in a Veterans Court docket, a defendant must meet defined criteria and must be referred by an attorney.  Attorneys practicing criminal defense should ask each client if he or she is a military veteran.  If so, and if a Veterans Court is available in the jurisdiction, attorneys should consider Veterans Court in the appropriate circumstances.

Veterans Courts and other specialized dockets will be the topic of a presentation at the upcoming Hot Topics In Criminal Law seminar. Lizette Schreiber, policy counsel for the Ohio Supreme Court, will discuss the role of the criminal defense attorney in specialized dockets.  The seminar will be held at the Ohio Department of Transportation on December 13, 2019, beginning at 8:30 am.

Shawn Dominy, President

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