By Nancy Black
Even though I didn’t want to get picked, I was still disappointed when I was dismissed for the day. My juror number was 2705, and the courts were already full of potential panels by number 1180. Darnit. My inner “Law & Order” and “Forensic Files” fan was truly let down.
I did learn something about the court system during my morning on jury duty, though. I found out about Veterans Court. It’s a special court process developed for military veterans. According to the city: “The Dallas County Veterans Court Program is a mental health and drug treatment court, which provides an alternative to traditional criminal prosecution for veterans who meet specific criteria and suffer from a mental health disorder, including substance abuse disorders.”
The judges of Dallas County created the court to help get treatment for the mental health issues that caused or affected the actions of the veteran in the criminal offense charged. The vets still receive continual court monitoring, but they also get professional mental health treatment and mentorship from fellow veterans to guide them toward better life choices.
The Veterans Court Program is administered by the Dallas District Attorney’s office and authorized by Texas Government Code, Chapter 124. For more information, contact the Community Supervision Officer at 214‐875‐4939.