senate Bill S7814

2013-2014 Legislative Session

Relates to veterans courts

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Archive: Last Bill Status - In Committee


  • Introduced
  • In Committee
  • On Floor Calendar
    • Passed Senate
    • Passed Assembly
  • Delivered to Governor
  • Signed/Vetoed by Governor

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Senate Actions - UPPERCASE
Jun 11, 2014 referred to judiciary

S7814 - Bill Details

Current Committee:
Senate Judiciary
Law Section:
Judiciary Law
Laws Affected:
Add Art 5-C ยงยง178-a - 178-c, Judy L

S7814 - Bill Texts

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Establishes veterans courts for the purpose of hearing and determining criminal cases involving veterans.

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BILL NUMBER:S7814

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the judiciary law, in relation to
veterans courts

PURPOSE:

This bill would establish Veteran Treatment Courts (VTCs) within the
framework of the state's criminal justice system.

SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:

Section one amends the Judiciary Law by adding a new article 5-C,
"Veterans Courts", which includes new section 178-a, relating to the
establishment of Veterans Treatment Courts throughout New York State,
and new sections 178-b and 178-c, which would provide procedures for
transferring cases from other courts to Veterans Treatment Courts.

JUSTIFICATION:

Since 2001, more than 2.25 million United States troops have been
deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Operation Enduring
Freedom (OEF). Our veterans return home with a unique set of health
related illnesses, which often go untreated, leading to destructive or
criminal behavior, such as substance abuse or addiction. A survey
conducted by the Justice Department found that approximately 60% of
the 140,000 veterans in federal and state prisons were struggling with
a substance use disorder, and 25% reported being under the influence
of drugs at the time of the offense. Furthermore, a study conducted by
the RAND Corporation in 2008 found that 31% of troops who served in
Iraq and Afghanistan have a service-related mental health condition or
traumatic brain injury (TBI). One of the most common detriments of war
is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a mental health condition.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that roughly 11% of
veterans who served in OEF, and 20% of veterans who served in OIF
suffer from PTSD, which can lead to depression, anxiety disorders and
substance abuse. Unfortunately, due to the stigma associated with
mental health issues, many veterans do not seek treatment. Left
untreated, these conditions often times lead to the disruption of
family life, loss of employment and trigger actions which lead to
criminal prosecution. Veterans many times enter the criminal justice
system on charges which stem from mental illness or substance abuse
often due to trauma experienced during their active military service.

Veteran Treatment Courts recognize the unique needs of our veterans by
helping those who have been charged with certain crimes get on the
correct path, and become productive members of society, while ensuring
public safety and trust in the criminal justice system. Enacting a
statutory framework for the establishment and operation of Veteran
Treatment Courts throughout the state will help increase the number of
these valuable forums within the court system and provide access to a
range of services for appropriate veteran criminal defendants.

Veteran Treatment Courts have been created in a limited number of
areas in New York State, including the City of Buffalo, which has been
recognized as the first court of its kind in the country. However,
these courts only handle cases commenced within a particular county.


This bill would expand accessibility to Veteran Treatment Courts by
allowing them to hear cases from other courts within the judicial
district.

These courts utilize a model similar to that of the drug and mental
health courts, providing a court-based system of assessment,
treatment, review hearings, and graduated sanctions. They provide
veterans with the opportunity to receive the benefit of Veterans
Administration programs and local social services, an opportunity for
employment, and - when appropriate -- rehabilitation rather than
incarceration. The following components are important to the
successful operation of Veterans Treatment Courts:

-Voluntary participation by veterans;

-Coordination of activities with federal agencies, community-based
service providers and local agencies;

-Mentoring by successful veterans in the community;

-Flexibility for local officials; and,

-Tracking outcomes.

With the fourth largest veteran population in the country, New York
State is committed to providing veterans with the necessary resources
and services upon their return from active military service.
Enhancing the development of Veteran Treatment Courts will build on a
successful model and provide appropriate veterans with access to the
various services provided by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs,
and other community-service organizations which assist with housing,
employment and family matters. It is important to the personal success
of our returning service men and woman that they receive these unique
and specialized services through Veteran Treatment Courts.

LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:

New bill

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS:

To be determined.

EFFECTIVE DATE:

The first of January next succeeding the date in which it shall have
become law.

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                    S T A T E   O F   N E W   Y O R K
________________________________________________________________________

                                  7814

                            I N  S E N A T E

                              June 11, 2014
                               ___________

Introduced  by  Sen.  ZELDIN -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
  printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary

AN ACT to amend the judiciary law, in relation to veterans courts

  THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND  ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:

  Section 1. The judiciary law is amended by adding a new article 5-C to
read as follows:
                               ARTICLE 5-C
                             VETERANS COURTS
SECTION 178-A. ESTABLISHMENT OF COURTS FOR VETERANS.
        178-B. TRANSFER  OF CASES TO COURTS FOR VETERANS; HOW EFFECTUAT-
                 ED.
        178-C. PROCEDURE IN A COURT FOR VETERANS UPON TRANSFER  OF  CASE
                 THERETO.
  S 178-A. ESTABLISHMENT OF COURTS FOR VETERANS. THE CHIEF ADMINISTRATOR
OF  THE  COURTS,  BY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDER, IS AUTHORIZED AND DIRECTED TO
ESTABLISH A COURT FOR VETERANS IN ANY CRIMINAL COURT IN THE  STATE,  AND
ASSIGN ONE OR MORE JUSTICES OR JUDGES TO PRESIDE THEREIN. SUCH COURT FOR
VETERANS SHALL HAVE AS ITS PURPOSE THE HEARING AND DETERMINATION OF:
  1. CRIMINAL CASES THAT ARE COMMENCED IN THE COURT FOR VETERANS AGAINST
A DEFENDANT IDENTIFIED AS A VETERAN; AND
  2.  CRIMINAL CASES THAT ARE COMMENCED IN OTHER COURTS OF THE COUNTY OR
COURTS IN ANOTHER COUNTY WITHIN THE  JUDICIAL  DISTRICT,  AND  THAT  ARE
IDENTIFIED  AS APPROPRIATE FOR DISPOSITION BY THE COURT FOR VETERANS AND
TRANSFERRED TO THE COURT FOR VETERANS AS PROVIDED IN SECTION ONE HUNDRED
SEVENTY-EIGHT-B OF THIS ARTICLE.
  S 178-B. TRANSFER OF CASES TO COURTS FOR VETERANS; HOW EFFECTUATED. 1.
TRANSFER OF CASES PENDING IN LOCAL CRIMINAL COURTS. (A) A LOCAL CRIMINAL
COURT IN A COUNTY IN WHICH A COURT FOR  VETERANS  HAS  BEEN  ESTABLISHED
UNDER  THIS  ARTICLE  OR A LOCAL CRIMINAL COURT IN ANOTHER COUNTY WITHIN
THE JUDICIAL DISTRICT MAY, UPON MOTION OF THE  DEFENDANT  AND  WITH  THE
CONSENT OF THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CAUSE COPIES OF PAPERS AND OTHER DOCU-
MENTS  FILED  IN SUCH LOCAL CRIMINAL COURT IN CONNECTION WITH A CRIMINAL

 EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
                      [ ] is old law to be omitted.
                                                           LBD15487-01-4

S. 7814                             2

ACTION OR PROCEEDING PENDING THEREIN TO BE SENT TO THE COURT FOR  VETER-
ANS:
  (I)  UPON  OR  AFTER  ARRAIGNMENT OF THE DEFENDANT ON A LOCAL CRIMINAL
COURT ACCUSATORY INSTRUMENT BY  WHICH  SUCH  ACTION  OR  PROCEEDING  WAS
COMMENCED; OR
  (II)  UPON  OR  AFTER  COMMENCEMENT  OF A PROCEEDING BROUGHT AGAINST A
DEFENDANT FOR THE VIOLATION OF A CONDITION OF A SENTENCE OF PROBATION OR
A SENTENCE OF CONDITIONAL DISCHARGE.
  (B) NOT LATER THAN FIVE DAYS FOLLOWING RECEIPT OF THE PAPERS AND OTHER
DOCUMENTS, THE JUSTICE OR JUDGE PRESIDING  IN  THE  COURT  FOR  VETERANS
SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A TRANSFER OF THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING TO
THE COURT WOULD PROMOTE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. IF THE JUSTICE OR
JUDGE PRESIDING IN THE COURT DETERMINES THAT IT WOULD PROMOTE THE ADMIN-
ISTRATION  OF JUSTICE, HE OR SHE MAY ORDER SUCH TRANSFER, IN WHICH EVENT
THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING SHALL BE TRANSFERRED TO THE COURT FOR VETERANS,
ALL ORIGINATING PAPERS SHALL THEN BE SENT FROM THE ORIGINATING COURT  TO
THE  COURT  FOR VETERANS, AND ALL FURTHER PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE CONDUCTED
THEREIN. IF THE JUSTICE OR JUDGE  DETERMINES  THAT  A  TRANSFER  OF  THE
ACTION OR PROCEEDING WOULD NOT PROMOTE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE, HE
OR  SHE  SHALL NOTIFY THE LOCAL CRIMINAL COURT OR OTHER COURT FROM WHICH
THE REFERENCE WAS RECEIVED OF SUCH DETERMINATION, WHEREUPON ALL  FURTHER
PROCEEDINGS  IN SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDINGS SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN ACCORD-
ANCE WITH LAW.
  2. TRANSFER OF CASES PENDING IN SUPERIOR COURTS. (A) AT ANY TIME WHILE
A CRIMINAL ACTION OR PROCEEDING IS PENDING IN  A  SUPERIOR  COURT  IN  A
COUNTY  IN WHICH A COURT FOR VETERANS HAS BEEN ESTABLISHED OR A SUPERIOR
COURT IN ANOTHER  COUNTY  WITHIN  THE  JUDICIAL  DISTRICT,  INCLUDING  A
PROCEEDING  BROUGHT AGAINST A DEFENDANT FOR THE VIOLATION OF A CONDITION
OF A SENTENCE OF PROBATION OR A SENTENCE  OF  CONDITIONAL  DISCHARGE,  A
JUDGE OR JUSTICE OF THE COURT IN WHICH THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING IS PEND-
ING  MAY,  UPON  MOTION  OF  THE  DEFENDANT  AND WITH THE CONSENT OF THE
DISTRICT ATTORNEY, CAUSE COPIES OF PAPERS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS  FILED  IN
SUCH COURT IN CONNECTION WITH THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING TO BE SENT TO THE
JUDGE  OR  JUSTICE PRESIDING IN THE COURT FOR VETERANS FOR REVIEW OF THE
APPROPRIATENESS OF THE TRANSFER.
  (B) NOT LATER THAN FIVE BUSINESS DAYS FOLLOWING  THE  RECEIPT  OF  THE
PAPERS  AND OTHER DOCUMENTS, THE JUDGE OR JUSTICE PRESIDING IN THE COURT
FOR VETERANS SHALL DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT A TRANSFER OF THE ACTION  OR
PROCEEDING  TO THE COURT WOULD PROMOTE THE ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE. IF
SUCH JUDGE OR JUSTICE DETERMINES THAT TRANSFER WOULD PROMOTE THE  ADMIN-
ISTRATION OF JUSTICE:
  (I)  HE  OR SHE, IF SITTING IN SUPREME COURT, MAY ORDER SUCH TRANSFER,
IN WHICH EVENT THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING SHALL BE REFERRED  FOR  DISPOSI-
TION TO THE COURT FOR VETERANS, ALL ORIGINAL PAPERS SHALL BE SENT TO THE
COURT  FOR  VETERANS,  AND  ALL  FURTHER  PROCEEDINGS  IN SUCH ACTION OR
PROCEEDING SHALL BE CONDUCTED THEREIN; OR
  (II) HE OR SHE, IF SITTING  IN  COUNTY  COURT,  SHALL  SO  NOTIFY  THE
JUSTICE  OF  THE  COURT  WHO CAUSED THE PAPERS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS TO BE
SENT TO HIM OR HER, AND SUCH JUSTICE MAY THEREUPON ORDER SUCH  TRANSFER,
IN  WHICH  EVENT THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING SHALL BE REFERRED FOR DISPOSI-
TION TO THE COURT FOR VETERANS, ALL ORIGINAL PAPERS SHALL BE  SENT  FROM
THE  ORIGINATING  COURT  TO  THE  COURT  FOR  VETERANS,  AND ALL FURTHER
PROCEEDINGS IN SUCH ACTION OR PROCEEDING SHALL BE CONDUCTED THEREIN.  IF
THE JUDGE OR JUSTICE PRESIDING IN THE COURT FOR VETERANS DETERMINES THAT
A  TRANSFER  OF  THE ACTION OR PROCEEDING WOULD NOT PROMOTE THE ADMINIS-
TRATION OF JUSTICE, HE OR SHE SHALL NOTIFY THE ORIGINATING COURT OF SUCH

S. 7814                             3

DETERMINATION, WHEREUPON ALL  FURTHER  PROCEEDINGS  IN  SUCH  ACTION  OR
PROCEEDING SHALL BE CONDUCTED IN ACCORDANCE WITH LAW.
  S 178-C. PROCEDURE IN A COURT FOR VETERANS UPON TRANSFER OF CASE THER-
ETO. EACH ACTION OR PROCEEDING TRANSFERRED TO A COURT FOR VETERANS SHALL
BE  SUBJECT  TO  THE  SAME  SUBSTANTIVE AND PROCEDURAL LAW AS WOULD HAVE
APPLIED TO IT HAD IT NOT BEEN TRANSFERRED.
  S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next  succeed-
ing the date on which it shall have become a law.

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