Attorneys Defending Veterans Have New Tool Available

The Veterans Defense Project is releasing the 800+ page "Attorney's Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court," the first professional publication of its kind, containing the most current and up-to-date insight and material. Experts write in the fields of law, medicine, psychiatry, psychology, social work, military, women-specific issues, and among others.

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This book is a testament to the spirit and life work of organizations like the VDP. May it be used by all in service to those who have given so much to our great nation.

Max Cleland
US Senator – Georgia
Administrator of US Veterans Admin.

Orlando, FL and Minneapolis, MN (PRWEB) February 07, 2013

With veterans entering the criminal justice system at record rates, the need for on-target data and materials that defense attorneys can put to immediate use, is higher than ever. The Veterans Defense Project (headquartered in Milwaukee, MN) is releasing the most important publication for those, who seek justice for men and women who have legitimate PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury) and other combat-related issues.

The “Attorney’s Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court” is the result of a multi-year project, in which leading experts from a variety of fields present the latest, most up-to-date coverage of subjects needed to provide an adequate defense. These experts include the likes of Brigadier General (Ret.) Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D. (“Overview of Psychological Injuries in War”), Major Evan R. Seamone, U.S. Army Chief of Military Justice (“Preparing Attorneys to Defend Combat Veterans Against Themselves in Criminal Cases”), Marku Sario, Esq. (“Handling a PTSD-Based Insanity Defense”), and Judge Robert T. Russell (“Veteran’s Treatment Courts”). The Table of Contents illustrates the depth of coverage and level of expertise on the part of contributors.

As a recently released study by the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine reported that 2.6 million Americans have now served in Iraq or Afghanistan and up to 20%, more than a half-million, are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Untreated, many of these psychologically injured veterans are acting out in reckless, self-destructive and, sometimes, violent ways that bring them into contact with the criminal justice system.

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may be “winding down, and the numbers of troubled veterans flooding into our criminal courts are swelling. Emerging research reveals a pattern of traumatized combat veterans surfacing in the criminal justice system following every major American conflict. Unfortunately, veterans of past conflicts were often treated quite harshly when their psychological injuries led them into criminal behavior, destroying lives and families, and missing opportunities for rehabilitation and redemption.

The Veterans Defense Project believes that we can do better this time around. The American criminal justice system has already begun preparing for the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Veterans Treatment Courts are cropping up in nearly every state, veteran sentencing mitigation statutes are being enacted, and post-traumatic stress is increasingly being recognized as a basis for the insanity defense in certain, more extreme, cases. Much more needs to be done, however, to educate the justice system and make the changes necessary to be ready when the wave of troubled veterans hits.

The Guide is intended to be a tool to instruct attorneys in all aspects of representing veterans facing criminal charges. From establishing an effective attorney-client relationship, accessing treatment and documenting military service – to pretrial negotiation, trial and sentencing, this Guide will be the very first of its kind publication to fully address the criminal justice needs of our veterans. Judges and expert witnesses will find the publication an invaluable guide in understanding the critical nature of their role.

The Guide also goes beyond purely legal topics, covering a wide range of relevant subjects, including the historical context of combat stress, sociological trends following wars, the current science and treatment of disorders common in troubled veterans, and understanding the military’s unique culture. Therefore, it is also a perfect publication for law libraries and course reading and research.

Longtime veteran supporter and motion picture actor, Martin Sheen says, "’The Attorneys Guide to Defending Veterans in Criminal Court’” is a vital resource to serve the growing number of returning veterans who face charges stemming from service-related substance abuse to mental health issues. By using the criminal justice system as an intervention tool, we can connect our veterans to the treatment they earned through military service and ensure they do not fall through the cracks into chronic incarceration and homelessness."

Ed Finkel, writing in the “American Bar Association Journal,” interviewed lead editor, Brock Hunter (a defense attorney practicing in Minneapolis, MN). The Guide explains the mental health aspects of PTSD and traumatic brain injury so attorneys can understand the experts, and it contains a section on “cultural competency” to help them understand their clients. The book includes an extensive legal section covering how PTSD can be used as an insanity defense, to prove diminished capacity, in plea negotiations and in sentence mitigation, says Hunter, who recruited “all [his] heroes in the area of mental health, the law and veterans” to write sections of the book.

Currently, anyone who purchases the Guide will receive both an electronic form of the book, as well as the print version, once it comes off the presses. The publisher, DC Press, (Orlando, FL) is working with all subscribers to get the chapters in fully searchable PDF format. The price of the publication provides both formats.

Editor, Brock Hunter and other contributors stand ready to conduct interviews on the substance of the publication. Please use the contact information to arrange an interview.

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