LD 1698
Second Regular Session - 125th Maine Legislature
LR 2435
Item 1
Bill Tracking, Additional Documents Chamber Status

An Act To Establish Veterans Treatment Courts

Emergency preamble. Whereas,  acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and

Whereas,  studies have shown that combat service may exact a tremendous psychological toll on members of the United States Armed Forces who are faced with the constant threat of death or injury over an extended period of time; and

Whereas,  researchers have shown that a significant number of members of the United States Armed Forces who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan will suffer, as a result of their military service, mental health injuries, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and acute stress, and injuries that affect brain function, such as traumatic brain injury; and

Whereas,  such combat-related injuries, and the use of drugs and alcohol to cope with such injuries, can lead to encounters with the criminal justice system that would not have occurred without the combat-related injuries; and

Whereas,  while the vast majority of returning members of the United States Armed Forces do not have contact with the criminal justice system, and most veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces are well-adjusted, contributing members of society, psychiatrists and law enforcement officials agree that combat-related injuries have led to instances of criminality; and

Whereas,  as a grateful State, we must continue to honor the military service of our men and women by providing them with an alternative to incarceration when feasible, permitting them instead to obtain proper treatment for mental health and substance abuse problems that have resulted from military service; and

Whereas,  this legislation needs to take effect before the expiration of the 90-day period because veterans are returning from Afghanistan and Iraq every day and need help as soon as possible to readjust to society; and

Whereas,  in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore,

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:

Sec. 1. 4 MRSA c. 8-B  is enacted to read:



§ 433 Veterans treatment courts

1 Definition.   As used in this section, unless the context otherwise indicates, "veterans treatment court" means a court established to adjudicate select criminal cases in which the defendant is a veteran or member of the United States Armed Forces and to provide treatment for that defendant.
2 Chief Justice may establish.   The Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court may establish veterans treatment courts for veterans and members of the United States Armed Forces.
3 Federal funding.   The State Court Administrator may seek federal funding as it becomes available on behalf of the Judicial Department for the establishment, maintenance and expansion of veterans treatment courts.

Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this legislation takes effect when approved.


This bill authorizes the Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Court to establish veterans treatment courts. It also authorizes the State Court Administrator to seek federal funding for these courts.

This bill is presented in memory of former Army Ranger Justin Crowley-Smilek of Farmington, who served his country in Afghanistan.

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