Chief Sponsor: V. Lowry Snow

Senate Sponsor: Lyle W. Hillyard

6     Cosponsors:
7     Cheryl K. Acton
8     Carl R. Albrecht
9     Stewart E. Barlow
Walt Brooks
Stephen G. Handy
Susan Pulsipher
Keven J. Stratton
Christine F. Watkins


12     General Description:
13          This bill enacts the Veterans Treatment Court Act.
14     Highlighted Provisions:
15          This bill:
16          ▸     defines terms;
17          ▸     provides the requirements for establishing a veteran treatment court;
18          ▸     provides the requirements for creating policies and procedures for a veteran
19     treatment court;
20          ▸     addresses eligibility for participation in a veterans treatment court;
21          ▸     addresses admission, modification, termination, and completion in a veterans court;
22          ▸     addresses domestic violence offenses;
23          ▸     states that there is no right to participate in a veterans treatment court; and
24          ▸     provides a severability clause.
25     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
26          None
27     Other Special Clauses:
28          None

29     Utah Code Sections Affected:
30     ENACTS:
31          78A-5-301.5, Utah Code Annotated 1953
32          78A-5-302, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33          78A-5-303, Utah Code Annotated 1953
34          78A-5-304, Utah Code Annotated 1953
35          78A-5-305, Utah Code Annotated 1953
36          78A-5-306, Utah Code Annotated 1953
37          78A-5-307, Utah Code Annotated 1953
38          78A-5-308, Utah Code Annotated 1953
39          78A-5-309, Utah Code Annotated 1953
40          78A-5-310, Utah Code Annotated 1953
41          78A-5-311, Utah Code Annotated 1953
42          78A-5-312, Utah Code Annotated 1953
43          78A-5-313, Utah Code Annotated 1953
44     REPEALS:
45          78A-5-301, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 354

47     Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
48          Section 1. Section 78A-5-301.5 is enacted to read:
Part 3. Veterans Treatment Court Act

50          78A-5-301.5. Title.
51          This part is known as the "Veterans Treatment Court Act."
52          Section 2. Section 78A-5-302 is enacted to read:
53          78A-5-302. Definitions.
54          As used in this part:
55          (1) "Defendant" means a veteran charged with a criminal offense.
56          (2) "Domestic violence" means the same as that term is defined in Section 77-36-1.

57          (3) (a) "Participant agreement" means the record, required by Subsection
58     78A-5-304(1), of the policies and procedures of a veterans treatment court and any specific
59     terms and conditions applicable to the defendant.
60          (b) "Participant agreement" includes a modification under Section 78A-5-310.
61          (4) "Record," except as otherwise provided in Subsection 78A-5-307(1)(c), means
62     information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other
63     medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
64          (5) "Servicemember" means:
65          (a) a member of the active or reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force,
66     Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, of the United States; or
67          (b) a member of the National Guard of the United States.
68          (6) (a) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto
69     Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the
70     jurisdiction of the United States.
71          (b) "State" includes a federally recognized Indian tribe.
72          (7) "Veteran" means a former servicemember who qualifies for health care benefits
73     from the Veterans Administration.
74          (8) "Veterans treatment court" means a veterans treatment court program administered
75     under this part by a court of this state.
76          Section 3. Section 78A-5-303 is enacted to read:
77          78A-5-303. Creation of a veterans treatment court.
78          (1) The Judicial Council may create a veterans treatment court in any judicial district or
79     geographic region that demonstrates:
80          (a) the need for a veterans treatment court; and
81          (b) the existence of a collaborative strategy between the veterans treatment court,
82     prosecutors, defense attorneys, substance abuse treatment services, the Department of
83     Corrections, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach
84     Program to work with veteran offenders.

85          (2) A veterans treatment court shall:
86          (a) establish a collaborative strategy that includes monitoring and evaluation
87     components to measure program effectiveness; and
88          (b) submit a collaborative strategy, for the purpose of coordinating the disbursement of
89     funding, to the Administrative Office of the Courts.
90          (3) A veterans treatment court shall include continuous judicial supervision using a
91     cooperative approach with prosecutors, defense attorneys, substance abuse treatment services,
92     the Department of Corrections, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans
93     Justice Outreach Program, as appropriate, to promote public safety, protect participants' due
94     process rights, and integrate veteran treatment programs with the justice system case
95     processing.
96          (4) Screening criteria for participation in a veterans treatment court shall include:
97          (a) a plea in abeyance or plea agreement for a criminal offense, or a requirement for
98     participation in a veterans treatment court as a condition of probation;
99          (b) frequent alcohol and other drug testing, if appropriate;
100          (c) participation in veteran outreach programs, including substance abuse treatment
101     programs where appropriate;
102          (d) sanctions for noncompliance with the requirements for participation in a veterans
103     treatment court; and
104          (e) any additional criteria developed by a veterans treatment court.
105          (5) No later than October 1 each year, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall
106     provide to the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee a written
107     report describing:
108          (a) the types of policies and procedures adopted by veteran treatment courts;
109          (b) the number of veteran participants in the previous fiscal year;
110          (c) the outcomes for veteran participants in the previous fiscal year; and
111          (d) recommendations for future veterans treatment courts, including expansion and
112     funding.

113          Section 4. Section 78A-5-304 is enacted to read:
114          78A-5-304. Record of policies and procedures.
115          (1) A veterans treatment court shall create a record of policies and procedures adopted
116     to implement Sections 78A-5-305 through 78A-5-312.
117          (2) A veterans treatment court shall seek input from prosecutors, defense attorneys, and
118     other interested persons in developing and adopting policies and procedures to implement
119     Sections 78A-5-305 through 78A-5-312.
120          Section 5. Section 78A-5-305 is enacted to read:
121          78A-5-305. Policies and procedures for a veterans treatment court.
122          (1) A veterans treatment court shall adopt policies and procedures to:
123          (a) integrate alcohol-treatment, drug-treatment, and mental-health services with the
124     defendant's criminal case;
125          (b) use a nonadversarial approach in which prosecutors and defense attorneys promote
126     public safety while protecting due-process rights of defendants;
127          (c) exercise early identification of eligible defendants;
128          (d) provide access to a continuum of alcohol-treatment, drug-treatment, mental-health
129     treatment, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services;
130          (e) monitor defendants for abstinence from alcohol and drugs by frequent testing;
131          (f) direct a coordinated strategy that responds to each defendant's needs;
132          (g) provide ongoing judicial interaction with each defendant;
133          (h) monitor and evaluate the achievement of goals;
134          (i) continue interdisciplinary education to promote effective veterans treatment court
135     planning, implementation, and operations; and
136          (j) forge partnerships between the veterans treatment court and the United States
137     Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach Program, the Department of
138     Veterans and Military Affairs, public agencies, and community-based organizations to generate
139     local support and enhance the effectiveness of the veterans treatment court.
140          (2) In adopting policies and procedures under this section, the court shall consider

141     nationally recognized best practices to implement the policies and procedures described in
142     Subsection (1) and comply with certification standards for problem-solving courts adopted by
143     the Judicial Council.
144          Section 6. Section 78A-5-306 is enacted to read:
145          78A-5-306. Supplemental policies and procedures of veterans treatment court.
146          (1) A veterans treatment court may adopt supplemental policies and procedures to:
147          (a) refer a defendant with a medical or medication need to an appropriate health care
148     provider;
149          (b) refer a defendant to other available services, including assistance with housing,
150     employment, nutrition, and education;
151          (c) provide a defendant access to a mentor who is a veteran;
152          (d) integrate intervention, treatment, and counseling, as part of the rehabilitative
153     services offered to a defendant who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual trauma,
154     child abuse, or other trauma;
155          (e) confer with the victim or alleged victim of the domestic violence offense for which
156     the defendant is charged that serves as the basis for the defendant's participation in the veterans
157     treatment court;
158          (f) evaluate and assess a defendant charged with a domestic violence offense and
159     integrate specific counseling as part of the total rehabilitative services for the defendant;
160          (g) monitor a defendant charged with a domestic violence offense to assure compliance
161     with a domestic violence protection order, no-contact order, and prohibition of weapon
162     possession; and
163          (h) otherwise assist the veterans treatment court.
164          (2) In adopting policies and procedures under this section, the veterans treatment court
165     shall consider nationally recognized best practices related to policies and procedures described
166     in Subsection (1) and comply with certification standards for problem-solving courts adopted
167     by the Judicial Council.
168          Section 7. Section 78A-5-307 is enacted to read:

169          78A-5-307. Eligibility.
170          (1) A defendant is eligible to be screened for participation in a veterans treatment court
171     if:
172          (a) the defendant is a veteran;
173          (b) the defendant has a mental-health condition, traumatic brain injury, or substance
174     use disorder;
175          (c) the defendant agrees on the court record to voluntarily:
176          (i) participate in the veterans treatment court;
177          (ii) enter into a plea in abeyance or plea agreement, or participate in a veterans
178     treatment court as a condition of probation; and
179          (iii) adhere to a participant agreement; and
180          (d) as determined by the court, the defendant's participation in the veterans treatment
181     court would be in the interest of justice and of benefit to the defendant and the community.
182          (2) In making the determination under Subsection (1)(d), a court shall consider:
183          (a) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
184          (b) special characteristics or circumstances of the defendant, including the defendant's
185     criminogenic risk and need;
186          (c) the defendant's criminal history and whether the defendant previously participated
187     in a veterans treatment court or a similar program;
188          (d) whether the defendant's needs exceed treatment resources available to the veterans
189     treatment court;
190          (e) the impact on the community of the defendant's participation and treatment in the
191     veterans treatment court;
192          (f) special characteristics or circumstances of the victim or alleged victim;
193          (g) provision for, and the likelihood of obtaining, restitution from the defendant over
194     the course of participation in the veterans treatment court;
195          (h) the recommendation of the prosecutor regarding whether the defendant should
196     participate in a veterans treatment court;

197          (i) mitigating circumstances; and
198          (j) other circumstances reasonably related to the defendant, the defendant's case, and
199     available resources.
200          (3) Section 77-37-3 applies when making the determination under Subsections (1) and
201     (2).
202          Section 8. Section 78A-5-308 is enacted to read:
203          78A-5-308. Requirement for admission.
204          For a defendant to be admitted to a veterans treatment court, the defendant and
205     prosecutor must sign, and the court must approve, a participant agreement and a plea in
206     abeyance, plea agreement, or probation agreement.
207          Section 9. Section 78A-5-309 is enacted to read:
208          78A-5-309. Victim of domestic violence.
209          (1) If a victim or alleged victim of a domestic violence offense that serves as the basis
210     for the defendant's participation in a veterans treatment court can be reasonably located, the
211     victim or alleged victim must be offered:
212          (a) referrals to domestic violence service providers; and
213          (b) information on how to report an allegation of:
214          (i) an offense committed by the defendant; or
215          (ii) a violation by the defendant of the participant agreement.
216          (2) Except as expressly provided for in this part, the participation of the defendant in a
217     veterans treatment court does not alter the rights of a victim or alleged victim of domestic
218     violence under the law of this state.
219          Section 10. Section 78A-5-310 is enacted to read:
220          78A-5-310. Modification or termination.
221          (1) (a) If a prosecutor finds that a defendant has failed to comply with the defendant's
222     participant agreement, the prosecutor may notify the veterans treatment court and the defendant
223     of the defendant's failure to comply with the participant agreement.
224          (b) Any notice by a prosecutor under Subsection (1)(a) shall include specific

225     allegations of the defendant's non-compliant conduct with the participant agreement.
226          (2) Upon notice under Subsection (1), or upon any other notice that the defendant has
227     failed to comply with the defendant's participant agreement, the veterans treatment court shall
228     hold a hearing, after giving notice to all parties, on the defendant's failure to comply with the
229     participant agreement.
230          (3) At the hearing described in Subsection (2), the veterans treatment court shall:
231          (a) review the defendant's conduct under the participant agreement; and
232          (b) hear recommendations from all parties in order to determine whether the
233     defendant's participation in the veterans treatment court should be modified or terminated.
234          (4) After notice and a hearing is provided in accordance with this section, the veterans
235     treatment court may modify or terminate a defendant's participation in a veterans treatment
236     court.
237          Section 11. Section 78A-5-311 is enacted to read:
238          78A-5-311. Completion of the participant agreement.
239          If the veterans treatment court determines that a defendant has completed the
240     requirements of the defendant's participant agreement, the court shall adjudicate the defendant's
241     case in accordance with the defendant's participant agreement and any applicable plea in
242     abeyance agreement, plea agreement, probation agreement, court order, or judgment.
243          Section 12. Section 78A-5-312 is enacted to read:
244          78A-5-312. No right to participate.
245          This part does not create a right to participation in a veterans treatment court.
246          Section 13. Section 78A-5-313 is enacted to read:
247          78A-5-313. Severability.
248          If any provision of this part, or the application of any provision of this part to any
249     person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this part shall be given effect without
250     the invalid provision or application.
251          Section 14. Repealer.
252          This bill repeals:

253          Section 78A-5-301, Creation of a veterans court program -- Definition of a
254     veterans court program -- Criteria for participation in a veterans court program --
255     Reporting requirements.