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First Graduates of the Veterans Treatment Docket; 19 Vets Get a New Start in Life

Jan 10, 2013
(Cleveland) –The Veterans Treatment Docket, a specialized program created by the Cleveland Municipal Court will conduct its first graduation ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 in Courtroom 13-D in the Justice Center.

Contact:  Ed "Flash" Ferenc, Public information Officer
              Cleveland Municipal Court                   
              216-664-6787   216-857-7420
              ference@cmcoh.org

(Cleveland) –The Veterans Treatment Docket, a specialized program created by the Cleveland Municipal Court will conduct its first graduation ceremony at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 15, 2013 in Courtroom 13-D in the Justice Center.

The Honorable Charles L. Patton Jr. will preside over the ceremony, which will salute 19 vets who successfully completed the program since it was launched in September of 2011. The docket addresses the special needs of veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and National Guard, who become involved with the criminal justice system in the City of Cleveland and Cuyahoga County.  A total of 25 vets were on the docket when the program started.

“We certainly have more successes than failures and it’s yet another example of how we work as a problem-solving court,” said Judge Patton, who’s been in charge on the docket for the past year.

Cleveland Attorney James Willis, a Montford Point Marine Veteran, will be the keynote speaker for the ceremony.  Camp Montford Point was where the first African-American Marines were trained.  It opened in 1942 and Willis went there two years later.  The camp closed in 1949 and of the thousands who were trained there, only about 500 are still alive.

Willis, a nationally known expert in Constitutional Law, credits his service in the U. S. Marine Corps with contributing to his abilities and as being second only to those of his parents, particularly his father. In fact, he recalled his father told him, as he left for the Marine Corps, that “he would rather see him come home in a box than come home branded a coward”. At a White House ceremony in June of last year, Mr. Willis was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award the country can bestow.  This award put him in the same league with the Buffalo Soldiers, the Tuskegee Airmen, the 442 Regimental Combat Team and the Navajo Code Talkers.

The Veterans Treatment Docket brings together all parties that assist honorably discharged veterans with their substance abuse, mental health, housing, employment, education and health issues.  The criteria used to select the individuals is the same criteria used by the Court for other specialized dockets.

There are currently 100 defendants on the Veterans Treatment Docket.

 

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