Phoenix Considers Special Court For War Veteran Crime Cases


Cody Batroff of Phoenix, who served two tours in Iraq as a Marine, later was arrested five times in two years, culminating with a DUI and a disorderly conduct charge for what he describes as “standing in my front yard with a firearm, yelling and screaming.” He is serving five months in jail, says the Arizona Republic.

Experts have linked anti-social and criminal behavior with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries suffered by soldiers fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Batroff was diagnosed with both. Court officials recognize a need to treat these soldiers before they get caught up in a cycle of crime. A coalition of legal officials and advocates for veterans in Maricopa County is considering setting up a special court that would provide vets with the help they need to cope. The goal: Keep them out of the criminal-justice cycle. Veterans advocates, with judges and attorneys, started similar specialty courts in Buffalo, N.Y.; and Orange County, Ca. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of the 1.6 million troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will “face serious mental-health injuries” such as PTSD or traumatic brain injury.


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