2012-02-16 / Maine

Veterans court bill advances in Augusta

AUGUSTA ( AP) — The Maine Legislature is getting close to approving a special court to deal with military veterans accused of crimes.

The bill sponsored by Rep. Maeghan Maloney would create a court program for veterans who are willing to plead guilty and get counseling. The program would connect them to caseworkers and veterans services.

The Augusta Democrat tells Maine Today Media that many veterans come back from war with mental health and substance abuse problems.

The bill is named after Justin Crowley- Smilek, an Army veteran shot and killed by police in November. His parents say he never received the help he needed for posttraumatic stress disorder.

The bill won unanimous support from the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee and is expected to be approved by the Legislature. Gov. Paul LePage also supports it.

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