Town Council Regular Session


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  Item # F.       
Meeting Date: 12/03/2014  
Submitted By: Julie Bower, Town Clerk's Office
Department: Town Clerk's Office  

Information
SUBJECT:
Resolution No. (R)14-59, authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City Court of the City of Tucson for the Regional Municipalities Veteran's Treatment Court
RECOMMENDATION:
The Town Magistrate, the Honorable George Dunscomb, recommends that Council approve the MOU regarding the RMVTC.
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
The Regional Municipalities Veteran's Treatment Court is a cooperative effort of the Oro Valley Magistrate Court, Marana Municipal Court, Sahuarita Municipal Court, South Tucson Municipal Court, Tucson City Court and the Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Health Care System (SAVAHCS).  Its goal is to assist veterans who are homeless, have a substance abuse problem or other issues.  Rather than arresting and jailing veteran offenders for a few days or weeks only to return them to the same type of life, this court connects them to Veterans Administration (VA) resources.  Through the RMVTC, veterans will be offered the opportunity for both the legal and the VA systems to engage them and offer support.

Council appointed Judge Michael Pollard of the Tucson Municipal Court as the Town's Judge Pro Tem for the RMVTC.  Judge Pollard put the RMVTC together, coordinating with the VA and the University of Arizona College of Law.  All cases of eligible veterans that are filed in Oro Valley Magistrate Court are transferred to the RMVTC, which resides in Tucson City Court.
BACKGROUND OR DETAILED INFORMATION:
There is much documented evidence that a significant number of the veterans who returned from the Vietnam conflict experienced rather severe problems adjusting to civilian life.  Many veterans remained untreated for a long period of time.  The VA recognizes that many of the veterans who have fought in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are returning with mental health problems.  Nationally, the VA is in the process of identifying veterans in need of services and offering treatment in a timely manner.  Admitting to mental health problems is not something that comes easily for the men and women who have served in the armed forces.  The challenge for the VA is to offer interventions whenever and wherever opportunities occur.  The SAVAHCS and the Tucson legal community are working jointly to engage veterans through the RMVTC.

An early sign that a veteran may have unaddressed problems may be when they first break the law. The RMVTC offers opportunity for the VA to engage veterans and offer treatment as an alternative to time in jail.  Men and women who have served the country are entitled to the best care the VA can provide.  Through the RMVTC, veterans will be offered the opportunity for both the legal and the VA systems to engage them and offer support.

The RMVTC is a specialty court within the justice system that assists veterans, as defined by federal law.  The eligible veterans are those having misdemeanor charges except for charges involving sexual offenses or violent crimes.  The veteran must be willing to accept and engage in assistance from the VA to address treatment, rehabilitation, housing needs and/or employment referrals.

Veterans who want to participate in the rehabilitative program will initially agree to participate in the program and be evaluated for eligibility by the SAVAHCS. The outcome of the case will be delayed until they have completed the RMVTC and treatment.
FISCAL IMPACT:
The financial impact on the Town is negligible.  These types of cases typically result in diversion with the fine being waived if the defendant completes intensive counseling or therapy.
SUGGESTED MOTION:
I MOVE to (approve or deny) Resolution No. (R)14-59, authorizing a Memorandum of Understanding with the City Court of the City of Tucson for the Regional Municipalities Veteran's Treatment Court (RMVTC).
Attachments
(R)14-59 Veterans Treatment Court MOU
MOU


    

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