Sedgwick County Hosts Reception for Opening of Veterans Treatment Court Sept. 22
(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The media is invited to a reception Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, to celebrate the opening of the Veterans Treatment Court Program at 11 a.m. in the 1st floor Jury Room in the Sedgwick County Courthouse, 525 N. Main. Expected attendance includes veteran service organizations, the Sedgwick County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) and representatives from the Offices of Congressman Ron Estes, U.S. Senators Jerry Moran and Roger Marshall. Speakers at the event will include:
- Jeffrey Goering, Chief Judge of the 18th Judicial District
- Pete Meitzner, BoCC Chair
- Jonathan VanderPlas, General Counsel for the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee
- Lawton Nuss, Retired Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court
- Marla Luckert, Chief Justice of the Kansas Supreme Court
- Rodger Woods, Veterans Treatment Court Judge
The media will also have the opportunity to get footage of the actual courtroom dedicated to Veterans Treatment Court, Judge Rodger Woods’ courtroom 11-1.
Veterans Treatment Court recognizes the frequency that veterans suffer from untreated mental health conditions like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and addiction, following their military service. This specialized court will offer qualified veterans convicted of certain felony offenses related to mental illness or substance abuse the option of serving time in treatment, instead of prison.
Veterans must meet several conditions to qualify for Veterans Treatment Court. They must:
- Live in Sedgwick County.
- Have discharged from the military honorably or under conditions other than dishonorably
- Be convicted of a qualifying felony resulting from a mental health or substance abuse disorder.
- Agree to a probation term of 18 months.
Crimes of conviction cannot be:
- Serious felonies, Levels 1-3.
- Domestic violence, if the offender has prior felony DV convictions.
- Any crime involving a drive-by shooting or serious bodily harm.
- Felony sex offenses.
By providing peer counseling, treatment, accountability and structure to a veteran struggling with mental health issues and/or addiction, Sedgwick County aims to break the cycle of recidivism and avoid incarceration in an already overcrowded detention facility. In turn, by connecting a recovering vet with health, education and disability benefits earned through military service, it is the goal of this program to return the person to the life
they fought to protect.
Veterans Treatment Court is a collaboration between these partners:
- Sedgwick County Department of Corrections
- Kansas Judicial Branch
- The 18th Judicial District
- Robert J Dole VA Medical Center
- The Office of the District Attorney of the 18th Judicial District
- Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office
- Sedgwick County Public Defender’s Office-SBIDS