Back in 2004, while serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in charge of many Marine defense counsel, I started noticing that many of the Marines returning from Iraq and Afghanistan had problems. And often these troubled Marines found themselves facing courts-martial, military separation or other disciplinary action. Many would be separated from the service, only to take their “problems” with them. Many more returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans left the service without incident only to find themselves facing criminal action in their home states. When this was first noticed, most in the military, especially the senior leaders, disputed that anything was even wrong and refused to believe that PTSD even existed. Soon, this became a big problem. Not just for the military, but for every town and city in the country with veterans coming home from war. After several years, military leaders had to finally acknowledge the existence of this mental health condition and recognize that the stresses and horrors of war were adversely affecting thousands and thousands. This was quickly realized across the country in criminal courts.
More and more courts around the country are looking at PTSD when considering defendants charged with crimes. This includes activity duty servicemembers and veterans. Judges across the country are increasingly considering this unique mental health issue when deciding how to handle such military defendants. Many states, such as Alaska, California, Texas, and New York, have even created specific veteran’s courts to handle many different types of crimes. These courts are often better equipped to deal with PTSD problems and properly considering the rigors of military service in combat. This is a trend that should be continued and instituted in every state in the country and in federal and military courts. PTSD is a unique problem and should be addressed with unique solutions.
If you have PTSD or think you might have PTSD and are facing charges in the military, state or federal courts, you need a lawyer who understands this unique issue and can ensure that such a condition is properly considered by a court.