The new La Paz County Veterans Treatment Court will begin on January 14th, 2016, according to Superior Court Judge Sam Vederman.
The special court will be a post-conviction court tailored for the needs of military veterans, many of whom come out of military service with specific issues that can be addressed in unique ways.
“It’s pretty involved. Twice a month they’ll see the judge, and they’ll be helped and monitored with peer support from other vets,” Vederman told Parker Live. “The idea is that there are specific ways we can help them, more than in a normal court.”
Veterans convicted of a crime will have the option of attending the Veterans Court in Parker, no matter which jurisdiction their crime occurs within in La Paz County. The courts of those cities will retain jurisdiction, and the Veterans Court will not ‘take over’ the cases.
“If a vet fails and gets removed, they’ll be sent back to the local court,” Vederman said. “Ours will be the only regional Veterans Court in the state, I believe. No other jurisdiction is doing what we’re attempting to do, with a court in Parker serving every other court in the county. It took 8 months of hard work. It’s not easy to put a court like this together.”
Jim Putz-Artrup has been named as the court’s first judge. Judge “P-A” is a veteran himself, Vederman added, saying that the language and conduct of the court will reflect military values. The effort has the full support of the Veterans Administration and is open to all veterans in the county, including tribal members.
The order establishing the special court was signed by Vederman back in April, with details being worked out in the months since in a cooperative effort between all of the courts, the Probation Department and the County Attorney’s Office.