Bucks Writs - Winter 2020 - 19

Subsequently, they may be required to perform community
service, undergo random drug testing where appropriate,
and they must communicate with their assigned mentors
on a consistent basis.

As a veteran with five overseas deployments (Afghanistan,
Border Patrol, and Kuwait, three times), she's seen the
correlation between veterans suffering from PTSD and
criminal behavior. Recently, she's been made aware of an
increasing number of women who developed PTSD resulting
from sexual assaults experienced during their time in the
service. Too often, she's seen these women attempt to diffuse
their painful memories by self-medicating and engaging in
illicit drug or alcohol use resulting in criminal prosecution.

Among the more popular treatment options available are
performing community service hours at Shamrock Reins, an
equine therapy treatment facility in Pipersville that caters
to veterans, first responders, and policemen, and Healing
Ajax, a counseling center in Philadelphia which offers group
therapy and one on one sessions specifically tailored to
meet the needs of veterans.

In Veterans Court, these women, as well as other qualified
male candidates, get a second chance. As relapse to drug
and alcohol abuse is often a pattern for veterans suffering
from PTSD, it's not unusual for participants to earn the
opportunity to remain in the program even after initial
failure so long as they demonstrate a willingness to stay
with the program.

As the program now heads into its seventh year, Veterans
Court has been steadily improved by the dedication of many
individuals, including several members of the Bucks County
Bar who offer their legal services pro bono to veterans
accepted into the program, and the Public Defender's Office
who work to have those veteran defendants who might
benefit from offered services apply to the program and
follow those clients through to completion. However, the
most important addition to the program has been Carolyn
Debuque, who has served as the Veterans Court Mentor
Coordinator since 2014. As a thirty-two-year veteran of
the Air National Guard (Master Sergeant), and a Juvenile
Probation Officer for the past fourteen years, she deserves
credit for bringing the program to a level that could only have
been imagined when Bob James first came up with his idea.

The Bar Association hosted a Graduation Dinner on January
22, 2020 in honor of those veterans who successfully
met all program requirements and were able to have
their criminal charges adjusted. Besides the guests of
honor, other invitees included Judges Bateman, Finley, and
McHugh, who preside in Court on their cases, program
mentors, administrators, volunteer lawyers, and DA Matt
Weintraub. Congratulations to the graduating veterans
and thank you to everyone involved for making this very
important program a success. 

19

WINTER 2020



Bucks Writs - Winter 2020

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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/BucksWritsSpring2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Winter2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Fall2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Summer2017
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BucksWrits/Spring2017
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