Veteranclaims’s Blog

March 28, 2010

Law Professor Discusses Veterans Courts, PTSD Defense

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — veteranclaims @ 6:09 pm

Audio at: Veterans with PTSD Stand Up in Court
By Virginia Prescott on Wednesday, March 24, 2010.
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Veterans affairs stats suggest that 27 percent of active duty vets were at risk for mental health problems including post-traumatic stress disorder. Those are the kinds of problems that can eventually land former soldiers in court. In 2008, more than 700,000 US veterans were either in prison, on probation or on parole. Many of them were found guilty of crimes related to PTSD.

Typically, judges focus on a defendant’s crimes rather than on their background or good deeds – like military service – when sentencing defendants in court. Increasingly, however, judges are ignoring the guidelines and writing more lenient sentences for soldiers who commit crimes after returning home from Iraq or Afghanistan.

The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs reports approximately 27 percent of active-duty veterans are at risk for mental health problems, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. And this mental and emotional baggage is weighing heavily on judges as they evaluate veteran crimes.

Douglas Berman is a law professor at Ohio State University and an expert on judicial sentencing. He joined us today to talk about veterans getting off the hook more easily in the courtroom.

National Journal: The Emerging PTSD Defense”

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