Bill asks for special court for war vets - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Bill asks for special court for war vets

Michael Broderick Michael Broderick
Brian Paisley Brian Paisley
Michael Davis Michael Davis

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The memories of war are still on the mind of Brian Paisley. The ex-soldier fought in Iraq.

"I have trouble sleeping with some of the things that happened. Every time a firework goes off I jump," he said.

He's confidant he's managed his wartime stress but.he sees many soldiers who haven't. .

"So they come back and it's like, 'I can't deal with life.' So they turn to drugs, alcohol, or violence in the home when clearly they should be getting counseling and they're not getting it," he said.

Family Court Judge Michael Broderick rules on cases involving many soldiers who break the law.and who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder..

Many of the cases involve domestic violence.

"If we can get this veteran help. If we can get them treatment. That's going to reduce the chances that they're going to violate the restrainiing order and mean that they're probably not going to end up back in court," he said.

Broderick favors a bill before lawmakers to set up a Veteran's Court.

It would handle cases of military personnel charged with misdemeanor crimes. Those with combat-related mental health and substance abuse conditions would be connected to Veterans Affairs and peer counselors instead of being sent to prison.

Former soldier Michael Davis agrees.

"In my mind, honestly, if the soldier has not gotten treatment, has not sought out treatment, they should be given the option of treatment," he said.

Paisley and Davis run a limo service for soldiers. They see PTSD sufferers frequently. They feel a Veteran's Court would help solders in trouble turn their lives around.

"Instead of dealing with a DUI and some jail time, they get help, they get brought back to society," Paisley said.

State Representative K. Mark Takai introduced the bill. He said federal grants could help set up a Veteran's Court in Hawaii.

Seven other states already have them.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly