Tucson's new veteran courtPosted: Updated:
Some of those who serve our country overseas have trouble adjusting to civilian life when they return. In some cases, that can lead to veterans making mistakes, in some cases breaking the law. A new court system in Tucson allows them a second chance.
It was a big day for some very grateful veterans. They just finished a month long program called veterans court.
"And yes it was a challenge, it was a real challenge," It was a challenge for Cleo Lewis. He served in the Air Force from 1973 to 1980. But when he got back to civilian life he had trouble fitting in, and living up to everyday expectations.
"I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. I lost my driver license as result, I was involved in some domestic violence issues," says Lewis
Thanks to the U of A law school, the Tucson City Court and the southern Arizona VA Health Care System. The charges against Lewis will be dismissed, "I can get my driver's license I can reintegrate back into the community I can continue to make the progress. Its a long road but this is a great start. It gives them a sense of self-respect and it gives them in opportunity to kind of get themselves back on their feet."
John Barwell is a U of A law grad who helped start the program with the help of Judge Michael Pollard, "For us law student veterans helping out. It is very very rewarding so its important to have a sense to give back something. One of the things that's amazing to me is one the people get back on track for lack of a better description, you can see the change."
Yes these veterans may have made a mistake, but Wednesday is the first time they're getting their second chance.
"You have to accept the consequences of your behavior. But there's potential for recovery and this is one of a collaborative effort that I was able to see where i can blaze some recovery."
The program is voluntary for veterans who are arrested or have a criminal record.