Courts targeting veterans as criminal defendants are a new development in the field of problem-solving justice. Employing a hybrid of drug treatment and mental health court models, the courts seek to address mental health and addiction issues that can often stem from the trauma of active combat and lead to criminal activity. Rather than pursuing the normal course of a criminal case, the courts are focused on providing access to community-based services and rehabilitation. My note argues that intimate partner violence cases are inappropriate for admission into veterans treatment courts. The note begins by providing a brief overview of problem-solving justice, and background information about domestic violence and the development of veterans treatment courts. It then describes the problems associated with accepting intimate partner violence cases into veterans treatment courts with respect to screening and assessment expertise, the high risk of victim coercion, and the ineffectiveness of treatment. The note concludes by suggesting a policy of exclusion of intimate partner violence cases from veterans treatment courts and recommends, as an alternative, that defense attorneys increase their awareness of PTSD and explore the increased validity of PTSD as an insanity defense. This approach would provide a traditional accountability response to domestic violence as a serious crime while also providing opportunities for the offender to present mitigating evidence to avoid or reduce criminal responsibility.
- Domestic violence,
- Intimate partner violence,
- Veterans treatment courts,
- Problem-solving justice
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/pamela_kravetz/1/