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Grant to help veterans court expand services

•  Law Center     updated  2014/11/25 10:20

A federal grant will help the Tennessee Veterans Treatment Court expand services over the next three years so that it can serve more people in Shelby, Montgomery and Davidson counties.

The court allows service members and veterans who end up in the criminal justice system to choose treatment and recovery programs instead of ending up behind bars.

The Leaf-Chronicle reports the $1.5 million grant will allow the Montgomery County veterans court to increase its capacity from 40 to 78. Much of the Fort Campbell Army post is located in the county.

In all, the grant will allow the program to serve 263 more veterans over a three-year period.

"It's much more than just a way for veterans to avoid a jail sentence," said E. Douglas Varney, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health. "This is a voluntary decision for a service member who's arrested on a non-violent offense to seek help, get into recovery and start receiving the mental health and substance abuse treatment they need."

Officials aim to help veterans find out why they engage in criminal behavior and break the cycle. In addition to assessing, analyzing and treating problems, services including job assistance are available to those who volunteer.


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Court won't overturn ruling on Arizona no-bail law

•  Court News     updated  2014/11/17 16:00

Hundreds of immigrants who have been denied bail under a strict Arizona law will now have the opportunity to be released after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling Thursday in the closely watched case.

The high court kept intact a lower-court ruling from three weeks ago that struck down the law, which was passed in 2006 amid a series of immigration crackdowns in Arizona over the past decade. The law denies bail to immigrants who are in the country illegally and have been charged with a range of felonies that include shoplifting, aggravated identity theft, sexual assault and murder.

As a result, immigrants spend months in jail and often simply plead guilty and get turned over to federal immigration authorities for deportation.

The decision clears the way for a wave of bail hearings for immigrants across Arizona.


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