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Legislation Could Help Vets Convicted Of Crimes

Pete Springer/OPB

Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would direct judges to take a person’s status as a veteran into account in criminal cases. If passed, it would allow judges to consider combat experience as a possible mitigating or aggravating factor. This legislation is building on a similar law that was passed in 2010 that allows district attorneys to offer veterans diversion from prosecution under certain circumstances.

Defense attorney and veteran Jesse Barton is advocating for the law because, he says

We’re good at programming people to go into combat zones, but we’re not very good at reprogramming them for the civilian world. And then you add into that the possibility of PTSD or traumatic brain injury. That can have effects on someone’s behavior.

The Senate passed the measure unanimously earlier this month. Now, it must pass the House before being signed into law.

Are you a veteran? Is there a veteran in your family? Where do you stand on this legislation?

law legislature military politics veteran crime courts 2013 session

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