The nature of asymmetrical warfare-defined by improvised explosive devices, indirect fire attacks, and suicide attackshas significantly altered the patterns of post-service challenges faced by veterans. Dealing with the unseen wounds of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) that result from this type of combat has been one of the most difficult leadership challenges of my career as a young officer.
Although our nation's medical response to PTSD and TBI is well documented, the judicial challenges are not as apparent. Most recently, our nation has responded to this challenge with an alternative court, the Veterans Trauma Court (VTC), modeled on longstanding drug courts. The VTC offers a legal solution to the complex problems faced by our veterans, particularly those suffering from TBI and PTSD.
Although there is much literature advocating for VTCs, there is a dearth of research examining the actual operations of the VTC or its measurable outcomes. VTCs are at a point of development, particularly the one studied in this Comment, where metrics are available, operations have been standardized, and recommendations can be made. The 4th Judicial District's VTC, the subject of this study, provides a particularly powerful case study because the district has a large, diverse military population. By incorporating research gathered over two years on this VTC, this Comment attempts to understand the mechanics and operations of a veterans trauma court as a case study for other veteran courts.
Karthik A. Venkatraj,
Colorado's About Face: Mechanics, Progress, and Challenges Facing Veterans Trauma Courts in Colorado,
U. Colo. L. Rev.
Available at: https://scholar.law.colorado.edu/lawreview/vol88/iss2/8