Monmouth County joins Ocean and Gloucester County with Veterans Treatment Court or Veterans Criminal Diversion as NJ calls it
THIS INFORMATION SHOULD NOT BE CONSTRUED AS LEGAL ADVICE. YOU SHOULD STRONGLY CONSIDER THE BENEFITS OF CONSULTING WITH A TRAINED LEGAL PROFESSIONAL
New Jersey’s efforts to catch up to other States slowly improving.
Essex is gearing up its program and Union County takes this cases on an individual basis when a Veteran’s matter is brought to their attention.
I wrote the following letter to many Freeholders and Surrogates recently and included the update from the new program in Monmouth County
Re: S307A4362 – Support for New Law: Veterans Criminal Diversion in New Jersey
1 in 10 of those Incarcerated in our Nation’s Jails and Prisons are Veterans
Dear Honorable Freeholder:
The VA, and NJ, can do better for our nation’s war heroes. In appropriate cases, justice-involved Veterans no longer have to be prosecuted when an offense appears to be caused due to their mental health problems. Instead of criminal charges and life-destroying convictions, Prosecutors have discretion to supervise treatment and link Veterans to rehabilitative services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and local providers. Of course, the VA’s budget is $180 billion dollars and in addition to keeping families intact, mandating counseling, this is a way to link Veterans and their families to healthcare that is usually more appropriate and keeps these heroes off Medicaid’s rolls. Please ask your Prosecutor if their program will be ready by December 1st.
THOMAS ROUGHNEEN & ASSOCIATES, COUNSELLORS AT LAW, LLC
Thomas Roughneen, Esq.
Now veterans who commit certain crimes can get help, not charges
Updated on August 7, 2017 at 3:55 PMPosted on August 7, 2017 at 3:05 PM
By Alex Napoliello, Star Ledger
Freehold — The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office announced last week it’s launching a new court diversion program that will allow certain offenders who are veterans to have his or her charges dropped.
Active and former service members who are charged with non-violent third or fourth degree crimes and suffer from a mental-health condition related to service could qualify for the Veterans Diversion Program (VDP) in Monmouth County, the county’s prosecutor, Christopher Gramiccioni, announced on Thursday.
Upon completing the program — which includes mental health and/or substance abuse treatment — the charges filed against the veteran will be dismissed and expunged, Gramiccioni said.
“We have a moral obligation to our veterans and service members,” Gramiccioni said in a statement. “They return home after long tours of duty in warzones with unseen wounds and issues related to their combat experiences. They can turn to drugs and crime in their efforts to cope. They need our compassion – something they have surely earned – to make a difference in their lives instead of convictions and jail sentences.”
The candidates chosen for the VDP will be up to the prosecutor’s office’s discretion, Gramiccioni said. He said offenders who commit other offenses that are non-violent third- or fourth-degree crimes could still qualify if the prosecutor “determines that there are sufficient compelling circumstances surrounding the criminal incident to warrant diversion.”
The program models one created in Buffalo, N.Y. In New Jersey, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato launched a Veterans’ diversion program in January 2016 And Gov. Chris Christie has signed bipartisan legislation to bring diversion programs for veterans across the state.