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By Ken Cruickshank
Tulare County Veteran Services Officer 

Veterans Court

Veterans Corner

 

Last updated 1/8/2022 at 8:33pm | View PDF



Tulare County has a Veterans Court! Established in 2010, the court serves veterans of Tulare County in the criminal justice system.

Several agencies and community partners, including the offices of the Tulare County District Attorney, Probation, Superior Court, Veterans Services, as well as the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Veterans Counseling Clinic and local law enforcement agencies collaborated to create Veterans Court.

Referrals to Veterans Court come from a variety of sources, including arresting officers, defense attorneys, probation officers, and the judiciary. To be eligible to enroll in the program, you must:

• Volunteer for participation;

• Reside in Tulare County;

• Be a U.S. citizen or possess a Permanent Resident Alien card;

• Provide evidence of documented combat service (valid DD-214 or equivalent);

• Not be currently on active duty in the U.S. military;

• Sign a Waiver of Release for all medical and mental health records; and

• Not be charged with a serious or violent felony.

If you meet the above requirements, you will be further evaluated by the Tulare County Veterans Court Board, which meets every month to determine suitability for successful completion of the program.

Once you've been accepted into the program, you must enter a guilty plea for the charged offense(s), and then you will be ordered to participate in and complete Veterans Court. The program typically takes at least 18 months to complete, will require you to actively participate in periodic counseling sessions with a licensed psychologist, remain clean and sober, submit to drug testing, pay victim restitution as well as any fines and fees, and appear monthly in court. While in court, you will appear before the Veterans Court judge, who monitors progress, offers encouragement, and imposes appropriate sanctions, as circumstances dictate.

When you successfully complete all five separate phases of the program, you can have the charges against you dismissed.

Ken Cruickshank, the Veterans Services Officer for Tulare County, is a retired Navy Master Chief Petty Officer. Contact him at the Veterans Services Office at 3348 W. Mineral King Ave., Visalia; by phone at (559) 713-2880; or by email at KCruicks@tularehhsa.org.

 

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