Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio
Court News Ohio

Toledo Veterans Treatment Court Celebrates First Graduates

Photo of man in tan coat being interviewed by TV reporter

Toledo Veterans Treatment Court graduate Anthony Moore watches as his fellow graduate, Alfred Cortez, is interviewed by the media.

Photo of man in tan coat being interviewed by TV reporter

Toledo Veterans Treatment Court graduate Anthony Moore watches as his fellow graduate, Alfred Cortez, is interviewed by the media.

Two men stood before Toledo Municipal Court Judge William M. Connelly Jr. on Jan. 22 to complete their year-long journey and become the first graduates of the Toledo Veterans Treatment Court.

The court, known as a specialized docket, provides rehabilitation and treatment services to military veterans charged with misdemeanor crimes who also have mental health and substance abuse problems. Toledo’s court began in January 2015, and is one of 19 in the state certified by the Supreme Court’s Commission on Specialized Dockets to focus solely on veterans.

At the ceremony, Judge Connelly addressed the graduates: “The inspiration for this court is a recognition that each of you, through your service, have already given so much to your country. It is our turn to return that favor. We are all so very proud to have had the opportunity to be a part of the team of people dedicated to helping our veteran participants move closer to a life with dignity, honor, and happiness.”

The court’s treatment team includes representatives from the city prosecutor's office, the public defender’s office, the court’s probation department, Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, Ohio Department of Veterans Services, and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It was surprising to me. There’s people out there that care. A lot of veterans don’t know about it. A lot of veterans don’t believe it’s out there,” Graduate Alfred Cortez told a WTVG-TV reporter after the ceremony.

In a letter of congratulations to the Toledo court, Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wrote: “I am so proud of the work you have undertaken in Lucas County, and the many lives that will be better for it. I am even more proud of the grit and determination displayed by the participants to meet their treatment goals, regain their lives, and graduate.”

There are more than 200 specialized dockets in Ohio courts that bring together court and treatment personnel to work collaboratively to assist defendants with treatment, instead of prison, for issues such as drugs, alcohol, and mental health. The success of specialized dockets is measured by reduced recidivism, improved treatment, and cost savings.

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