Historic City News readers are invited to attend first commencement of Veteran’s Treatment Court in St. Johns County on Thursday, January 18 at 2:30 p.m. in Courtroom 355 of the Richard O. Watson Judicial Center, 4010 Lewis Speedway, St. Augustine.
Veterans Treatment Court is aimed at helping veterans who face criminal charges and need treatment for mental health, substance abuse, traumatic injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The Veterans Treatment Court organization mimics the military structure with a team approach that the veteran should find familiar,” said Circuit Judge Howard O. McGillin, Jr. a retired U.S. Army colonel and military attorney. “The judge acts, in many ways, like the Commanding Officer of the team – encouraging good behavior and discouraging negative behavior.”
Vets graduate the program whey they complete probation, treatment, and other court requirements. Defendants who were honorably or generally discharged may be eligible for the court, which works with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs. The circuit has a similar court in Volusia County.
As part of the commencement, Judge McGillin, who will preside over the ceremony, will tell the graduate, “welcome home.” This is one of the themes of the program—that the veteran is truly coming home to the community.