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Legislators Support Push for Westchester Veterans Court

White Plains, NY — Westchester County could be on its way to establishing a dedicated Veterans Treatment Court.


The Westchester County Board of Legislators’ Committees on Budget and Appropriations and on Social Services, addressed the value of such a court in a joint meeting on Wednesday.  


Although there's no set date for the launch of the special court, Judge Kathie Davidson, administrative judge for the Ninth Judicial District, affirmed to the committees that she is a strong advocate for the establishment of one.


Such a court could provide alternatives to incarceration for veteran.  It also directs veterans who find themselves caught up in the judicial system to a variety of services including treatment for Post Traumatic Stress, brain injury, substance abuse and other services.


Budget and Appropriations Chair Catherine Borgia and Legislators Nancy Barr, Damon Maher and Majority Leader Catherine Parker, were joined by Judge Davidson and Westchester County Judge David Everett on a visit to a Veterans Treatment Court in the Bronx on Friday.


“Our visit to the Bronx Veterans court gave Westchester judges and elected officials a powerful example of how a Westchester Veterans Court can impact the lives of veterans,” said Borgia. “We owe the brave men and women who served our nation every opportunity to succeed. I’m so grateful to all who created this model for us to replicate and also to Administrative Judge Kathie Davidson and Judge David Everett for their commitment to bringing such a court to Westchester.”


Also on hand for the visit was State Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Bronx Administrative Judge Robert E. Torres, Bronx Supreme Court Justice Nicholas J. Iacovetta, Dwayne Gathers -- program coordinator of Bronx Veterans Court and president and CEO of Bronx Veterans Court Mentors, Inc.; as well as Martha Lopez and Crystal Collins from the office of Westchester County Executive George Latimer and Moe Mohanna, a Bronx Veterans Count Program Mentor.


On Wednesday, the committees also heard from Dr. Betty Campbell, Commissioner of Jurors Westchester County & Director 9th JD Problem Solving Courts, about the current County Veteran's Treatment Track programs in courts in New Rochelle, Mount Vernon, White Plains and Yonkers. The programs steer veterans who have become involved in the criminal justice system towards services, and which connect those veterans with veteran mentors.  The program was described as the first steps along the way to a full-fledged Veterans Court program.


PICTURED ABOVE L to R: Robert E. Torres, Administrative Judge, Criminal Term (Bronx County); Leg. Nancy Barr; Majority Leader Leg. Catherine Borgia; Leg. Catherine Parker; Assemblywoman Sandy Galef;  Westchester County Judge David Everett; Bronx County Supreme Court Justice- Nicholas J. Iacovetta; Dwayne Gathers, Program Coordinator of Bronx Veterans Court & President/CEO of Bronx Veterans Court Mentors, Inc.; Martha Lopez, Office of Westchester County Executive; Leg. Damon Maher; Crystal Collins, Office of Westchester County Executive; Kathie E. Davidson, 9th Judicial District Administrative Judge (Westchester Co.); Moe Mohanna, Bronx Veterans Court Program Mentor

 

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