First veteran's court cases held in Las Cruces
LAS CRUCES, N.M. —
Wednesday, for the first time, four veterans in Las Cruces were seen by a judge in the city’s first official veterans court program.
The veterans court is held at the Third Judicial District courthouse.
Inside the courthouse, veterans have a designated courtroom along with a veterans treatment court team.
The veterans treatment court was officially launched on April 1.
Right now, there are 12 people involved from different agencies such as the DA’s office, the VA clinic, and legal counsel from district court.
The veterans court is a 12-month program that focuses on rehabilitation and providing treatment for veterans charged with a felony.
Veterans facing felony charges for DWIs or substance abuse are assigned a surveillance officer, who makes weekly home visits and administers drug tests.
District court officials say the veterans court is currently providing treatment to five veterans in the community.
The majority of the veterans court treatment team, including the official veterans court judge, Manuel I. Arrieta, are veterans themselves.
Wednesday we spoke with Chief Judge James Martin with the Third Judicial District court who tells KFOX14 how the program is running so far.
“Our success rate with an alternative court is much higher than incarceration or some type of punitive punishment. If we can get the veterans the services they need, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, everybody will be much further ahead,” Martin said.
Martin said right now, the veterans court only assists veterans facing felony charges, but they are currently working with Magistrate's Court