Serving Those Who Served: Veterans Get Mentorship Training In NE Philly
This is not exactly how we do it here in Minnesota, but this is effective also. The story here is that veterans are volunteering to help their fellow veterans who need some assistance. Simply put, no one get’s left behind!
The Times Tribune
Veterans court gives vets charged with crimes second chance
Coon Rapids Community Television Network
CTN Spotlight: Veterans Court Celebrates 5 Years in Anoka County
Great Falls Tribune
Treatment court gives veterans stability, sobriety, and a second chance
Mitchell Hamline Law Review
The Practitioner’s Guide to Due Process Issues in Veterans Treatment Courts
So proud of our Veteran Brother and legal battle buddy, Evan Tsai, for his meticulous and passionate article on Minnesota’s Veteran Treatment Courts.
As we enter our 17th year of the current conflicts, the longest continuous wars in our nation’s history – without a draft, our military is under unprecedented strain. Many of our current generation of war veterans have served multiple combat tours. Some, in our special operations forces have served in the teens, even 20’s, deployments. The all-too-predictable results are higher rates of psychological trauma and, in many cases, contact with the criminal justice system.
Minnesota’s Veterans Courts present a unique opportunity to use a criminal justice contact as an intervention opportunity with a troubled veteran. She or he can be held accountable, but given an opportunity to receive needed treatment and a second chance at a clear record, that will allow them to once again become assets to the communities they previously risked their lives to protect,and not long-term liabilities. As Evan notes, much work remains to be done if we are truly going to “Support our Troops” this time around.
Veterans praise Ramsey County veterans court as life-changing.
Eleven years ago, Charles King returned home from an Army deployment in Iraq angry and wary of the world and people around him.
The distance between the combat mechanic and the rest of the world widened until he landed in Ramsey County District Court in 2013 for a domestic incident. The timing was fortuitous — the county was getting ready to debut its veterans court, and King would become its first enrollee.
St. Cloud Times Recognizes Brock Hunter for his Work with Veterans in the Criminal Justice System
Horrific battlefield injuries — physical and mental. Frustrating struggles for medical care of those injuries months and years after military discharge. Families, relationships and civilian lives changed forever. And stunning numbers of veterans contemplating suicide, to say nothing of the 686 veterans of all ages in Minnesota who did end their own lives between 2007 to 2012.
So many aspects of the four-part “Scars of Service” Times news report this past week make you shudder that it’s hard to know where to begin. Start by looking at “Ma,” also known as Melony Butler. Then focus on Hector Matascastillo and Brock Hunter. Those three people show every Central Minnesotan what can be done — and overcome — when you put helping veterans ahead of everything. Ahead of yourself. Ahead of “big government.” Ahead of “red tape.” Ahead of “standard operating procedure.” And miles ahead of “I can’t make a difference.”
Scars of Service: Brock Hunter Profiled by St. Cloud Times’ 4-Part Series
They seem like an odd couple, in both appearance and experience. One was a reconnaissance scout who spent 18 months in the Korean DMZ 20 years ago, never shot at and never having to shoot anybody.
Meet Brock Hunter, a hulking lawyer from Minneapolis whose practice focuses on helping veterans who’ve run into legal problems. The other survived numerous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, retiring with almost 20 years of active duty service, most of it in the secretive special operations world. Meet Hector Matascastillo, a chiseled native of Guatemala who earned his social work license after his military service and dedicates a majority of his practice to service members.
The Trenches at Home: Veterans, Crime, & PTSD Throughout History
Brockton D. Hunter is a man large in stature, but gentle in demeanor. Yet, when he talks about veterans, he is anything but gentle. America, he said in a talk at the first annual Veteran Courts Conference, has a tradition of treating its returning war veterans poorly. Throughout “The Coming Wave: Learning Lessons from History in Preparing for the Aftermath of Iraq and Afghanistan,” Hunter interspersed informational slides with images of soldiers in battles throughout the years.
“The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court” Helps Pennsylvania Law Students and Lawyers Counsel Vets
In a move to strengthen Allegheny County Veterans Court, the district attorney’s office said on Wednesday it’s donating 10 copies of The Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court to Duquesne University law students who will help a supervising attorney defend veterans in the program.
Ryan Else Honored for Veterans Advocacy Work
A Richfield lawyer is being honored next month by a statewide arts and culture group for dedicating his legal practice and volunteer work to veterans suffering from PTSD.
Ryan Else—himself a veteran—is slated to receive the Minnesota Humanities Center’s Veterans Voices award on Sept. 11 for helping to educate lawyers on how to defend a person suffering from the psychological scars of war, and for volunteer work to help local veterans. Link to full story.
April’s Veteran of the Month: Brock Hunter
Brock Hunter is an attorney and former Army scout who focuses his practice on defending psychologically injured veterans in the criminal courts and advocating for reforms in the way the justice system deals with them. Brock helped draft and lead passage of Minnesota’s Veterans Sentencing Mitigation Act, Minn. Stat. 609.115, subd. 10., which was subsequently cited in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Porter v. McCollum, 130 S. Ct. 447, at 455, n.9 (2009), the Court’s first to address combat trauma in criminal sentencing. Brock has since helped pass similar veteran sentencing legislation in other states, has been called on to brief the Obama Presidential Transition Team, and has spoken to leadership of the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs on more effective ways to address troubled veterans who commit crimes.
Brock Hunter Speaks with Jack Rice about Vets, PTSD, & the Law on AM 950 KTNF
Veteran and criminal defense attorney Brock Hunter has been at the forefront of this issue for years. He drove the legislation here in Minnesota and has become an advocate on the topic across the country. He regularly speaks in Washington DC and elsewhere on the topic. He joins me to talk about it.
Mitigation Law has Helped Vets in Plea Deals, Sentencing
For many veterans struggling to assimilate back into society, contact with the criminal justice system only makes things worse. “A criminal conviction just adds additional barriers to them reintegrating,” said Hunter. To that end, criminal defense attorneys are using the mitigation statute to assist their clients in either avoiding a conviction or lessening the charge. “In a lot of these cases, I’ve been able to convince prosecutors to willingly do a stay of adjudication were they might not otherwise agree to that,” said Hunter.
War Veteran Avoids Prison for Wife’s Slaying
Hunter said Torgesen had bouts when he was out of touch with reality and at times thought he was back on the battlefield. Torgesen was part of the 25th Infantry Division, his attorney said. Torgesen’s unit was regarded by some scholars as having seen some of the worst combat in all of the war.
The New York Times
After the Battle, Fighting the Bottle at Home
“Before joining the Marines, Mr. Klecker drank and smoked marijuana, but not heavily, said his lawyer, Brockton Hunter. He was once stopped for drinking and driving, but the charge was downgraded to careless driving because his blood-alcohol level was just over the limit.
After Iraq, he shipped out to Okinawa and did what many marines do there: he drank – a lot. But it was not until he left the Marines and returned home to suburban St. Paul that his panic attacks, nightmares and insomnia worsened. So did his drinking. He rarely spoke about the war, and only to other veterans.
The New York Times
Across America, Deadly Echoes of Foreign Battles
“Brockton D. Hunter, a criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis, told colleagues in a recent lecture at the Minnesota State Bar Association that society should try harder to prevent veterans from self-destructing.”
“To truly support our troops, we need to apply our lessons from history and newfound knowledge about PTSD to help the most troubled of our returning veterans,” Mr. Hunter said. “To deny the frequent connection between combat trauma and subsequent criminal behavior is to deny one of the direct societal costs of war and to discard another generation of troubled heroes.”