SANTA ANA (CBS) — A courtroom in Orange County is devoted exclusively to helping combat veterans instead of jailing them.
The Orange County Combat Veterans Court — the first program of it kind in California — is the brainchild of Superior Court Judge Wendy Lindley.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports Lindley drew her inspiration directly from the front lines of combat zones both past and present.
“It would be specifically for combat veterans, whether they were from the Vietnam war or more recent wars, who are suffering from PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse or other psychological issues or sexual trauma,” said Lindley.
In an interview recorded by the state judicial council, Lindley recalled a moving encounter with a young man who fought in Afghanistan who appeared in her court and later died of a drug overdose.
“It is our moral and ethical obligation as a society to step up to the plate and help these human beings who are suffering so,” said Lindley.
Judge Lindley works with prosecutors, public defenders, the veterans administration and the probation department to assist combat veterans with criminal problems stemming from PTSD.
Approximately 50 veterans are enrolled in the program and eleven have graduated.