For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 20

war was fought, and the type of enemy faced.17
During a recent discussion with psychological
case workers at the Erie Veterans Affairs Medical
Center, it was learned that PTSD is treatable and
a person can be asymptomatic for a period of
time. However, as different stressors and events
in a person's life can trigger the symptoms of
PTSD, one is never deemed cured.
The second type of military related PTSD
is Military Sexual Trauma ("MST"). This is less
known and includes any sexual harassment or
sexual assault that occurs while one is in the
military. It can happen to men and women
and can occur during training, peacetime
or war. Among veterans who use Veterans
Administration health care, 23 out of 100 women
reported sexual assault while in the military.18
That percentage of impacted females increases
to 55% when classifying the trauma as sexual
harassment and is joined by 38% of males who
experienced sexual harassment in the military.19
In addition to PTSD, Veterans Court participants
may have other forms of mental illness which are
service connected.20
However, not all participants applying for
Veterans Court have a mental health diagnosis.
Like traditional adult drug and mental health
courts, applicants may have addiction issues
which have caused their contact with the justice
system. The dependency could have begun in the
military or resulted from masking emotional and
physical pain after military service but Veterans
Court is not exclusively a mental health driven
program.
Giving a substantive overview of Veterans
Courts in Pennsylvania is difficult. Like most court
proceedings and programs, it varies from county
to county based on needs, participants and
available services. A practitioner should contact
the District Attorney's Office, Public Defender's
Office or the website of the Veterans Court in the
county where a client wishes to apply for specifics
of each county's program.21 An analysis of one
court in this article should provide comparable
information for all courts.
Erie County's Veterans Court is led by a
treatment team consisting of a Judge,
Assistant District Attorney, Public Defender,

20

For The Defense

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Vol. 3, Issue 1

a representative of the Veteran's Affairs
Office, Adult Probation and the Veterans
Justice Outreach Coordinator ("VJO") of the
Erie Veteran's Affairs Medical Center.22 This
team make-up is consistent with the 10 Key
Components previously noted. In the case of
Erie County, there is also a liaison with the Erie
County Office of Children and Youth23 as some of
the veterans who apply and are then accepted
into Veterans Court have issues with that agency.
In Erie County, the offense for which
someone is making application to Veterans
Court must be non-violent and that person must
understand that he or she will be entering a
guilty plea. A consideration for acceptance is
also the length of time the Court will have to
work with the individual. Erie has had only a
few graduates to this point,24 but all took at
least 1 year and usually closer to 18 months
to reach graduation. Even if it is determined
that there is not enough time to work with the
applicant through Veterans Court, at least he or
she has been identified to the VJO for referral
and assistance with the Veteran's Administration
Health Services.
There are other exclusions that Erie County
recognizes. Erie County will not accept a veteran
who does not qualify for Veteran's Affairs
benefits as Erie County only uses treatment
services provided at the Erie Veteran's Affairs
Medical Center.25 To confirm eligibility, applicants
are required to submit with the application a
copy of his or her discharge papers to confirm
that they have either a General Discharge or
Honorable Discharge and that he or she is
eligible for services.26 If one does not have this
information, he or she can secure a "Request
Pertaining to Military Records" from the county's
Veteran's Affairs Office which will generate the
needed information.27
If an applicant is on State Parole or has
pending charges in other jurisdictions, that
person will be denied access to Veterans Court.28
Despite the fact that the Erie County Veteran's
Affairs Medical Center provides services to
counties in New York, Ohio and 6 other counties
in Pennsylvania, an applicant of the Erie County
Veterans Court must be an Erie County resident.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018

Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 1
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 2
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 4
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 5
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 6
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 7
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 8
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 9
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 10
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 11
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 12
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 13
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 14
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 15
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 16
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 17
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 18
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 19
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 20
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 21
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 22
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 23
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 24
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 25
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 26
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 27
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 28
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 29
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 30
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 31
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 32
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 33
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 34
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 35
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 36
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 37
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 38
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 39
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 40
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 41
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 42
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 43
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 44
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 45
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 46
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 47
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 48
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 49
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 50
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 51
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 52
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 53
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 54
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 55
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 56
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