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Minnesota Governor Supports Restorative Justice Legislation for Veterans

By January 30, 2019 No Comments

The Star Tribune recently reported that Minnesota governor Tim Walz is supporting efforts to improve the treatment of veterans within the state’s criminal justice system. Governor Walz, who is a veteran, supports “legislation that would create a statewide restorative justice program for veterans who are charged with certain crimes.” Minnesota was one of the first states to create veterans courts. Brock Hunter, president of the Veterans Defense Project, says “Those courts, however, only serve a fraction of the state’s counties and there are disparities in how cases are resolved. It has led the Minnesota public defender’s office to pull its attorneys from participating in the courts.” The proposed legislation would allow a veteran offender to enter a plea but charges could be dismissed upon completing the terms of probation. This would allow defendants in counties without veterans courts to get those services. County attorney Pete Orput of Washington County says, “The county has had 40 people go through the veterans court and all have remained crime-free.”