This study focuses on local reasoning in Combat Veteran’s Court in terms of its combat veteran clientele. The perceived nature of the client-defendants as victim/offenders who have paid a great price to protect us all and whose combat service is directly related to their criminality significantly alters the moral calculus in the court. This altered moral calculus finds its way into the institutional encounters ad hoc, in the local relevancies, particulars, and contingencies of the case-at-hand, and in the prospects for ‘what can happen’, given what has already occurred. Combat Veteran’s Court is working out the fundamental terms of moral identity ad hoc, in the circumstantiality of the case as it presents itself now. This work moves social control away from the punitive approach of traditional criminal courts, or the abstinence-or-punishment approach of most other problem-solving courts, and toward an approach that is unique to combat veterans. The court’s accomplishment of its unique operation is an analyzable achievement, and Garfinkel’s ‘unique adequacy requirement of methods’ is fleshed out in relation to the materials under investigation.
Ethnographic Studies is an open access journal, hosted by ZHB Luzern/University Library Lucerne. This article is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives 4.0 International.