Chief Sponsor: Peter C. Knudson

House Sponsor: Paul Ray


8     General Description:
9          This bill authorizes the creation of veterans courts statewide.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     authorizes the Judicial Council to create veterans courts in each judicial district or a
13     regional veterans court based on veteran geographic populations;
14          ▸     specifies which veterans may be eligible for the court's consideration for
15     participation in a veterans court and affiliated intervention programs;
16          ▸     authorizes the court to seek federal funding to assist with the veterans courts;
17          ▸     provides for participation by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs
18     Veterans Justice Outreach Program; and
19          ▸     requires an annual written report not later than October 1 of each year to the
20     Veterans' and Military Affairs Commission.
21     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
22          None
23     Other Special Clauses:
24          None
25     Utah Code Sections Affected:
26     ENACTS:
27          78A-5-301, Utah Code Annotated 1953

29     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:

30          Section 1. Section 78A-5-301 is enacted to read:
31          78A-5-301. Creation of a veterans court program -- Definition of a veterans court
32     program -- Criteria for participation in a veterans court program -- Reporting
33     requirements.
34          (1) The Judicial Council may create a veterans court program in any judicial district or
35     geographic region that demonstrates:
36          (a) the need for a veterans court program; and
37          (b) the existence of a collaborative strategy between the court, prosecutors, defense
38     counsel, corrections, substance abuse treatment services, and the United States Department of
39     Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach Program to divert veteran offenders.
40          (2) The collaborative strategy in each veterans court program shall:
41          (a) include monitoring and evaluation components to measure program effectiveness;
42     and
43          (b) be submitted, for the purpose of coordinating the disbursement of funding, to the
44     Administrative Office of the Courts.
45          (3) A veterans court program shall include continuous judicial supervision using a
46     cooperative approach with prosecutors, defense counsel, corrections, substance abuse treatment
47     services, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach
48     Program as appropriate to promote public safety, protect participants' due process rights, and
49     integrate veteran diversion treatment programs with the justice system case processing.
50          (4) Screening criteria for participation in a veterans court program shall include:
51          (a) a plea to, conviction of, or adjudication for a criminal offense;
52          (b) frequent alcohol and other drug testing, if appropriate;
53          (c) participation in veteran diversion outreach programs, including substance abuse
54     treatment programs where appropriate; and
55          (d) sanctions for noncompliance with diversion and substance abuse programs'
56     requirements.
57          (5) The Administrative Office of the Courts shall submit in writing by October 1 of

58     each year, an annual report on each veterans court, including:
59          (a) types of programs;
60          (b) number of veteran participants;
61          (c) outcomes for veteran participants; and
62          (d) recommendations for future veterans court programs, including expansion and
63     funding.