Chief Sponsor: V. Lowry Snow

Senate Sponsor: Lyle W. Hillyard


8     General Description:
9          This bill enacts the Veterans Treatment Court Act.
10     Highlighted Provisions:
11          This bill:
12          ▸     defines terms;
13          ▸     provides the requirements for establishing a veteran treatment court;
14          ▸     provides the requirements for creating policies and procedures for a veteran
15     treatment court;
16          ▸     addresses eligibility for participation in a veterans treatment court;
17          ▸     addresses admission, modification, termination, and completion in a veterans court;
18          ▸     addresses domestic violence offenses;
19          ▸     states that there is no right to participate in a veterans treatment court; and
20          ▸     provides a severability clause.
21     Money Appropriated in this Bill:
22          None
23     Other Special Clauses:
24          None
25     Utah Code Sections Affected:
26     ENACTS:
27          78A-5-301.5, Utah Code Annotated 1953

28          78A-5-302, Utah Code Annotated 1953
29          78A-5-303, Utah Code Annotated 1953
30          78A-5-304, Utah Code Annotated 1953
31          78A-5-305, Utah Code Annotated 1953
32          78A-5-306, Utah Code Annotated 1953
33          78A-5-307, Utah Code Annotated 1953
34          78A-5-308, Utah Code Annotated 1953
35          78A-5-309, Utah Code Annotated 1953
36          78A-5-310, Utah Code Annotated 1953
37          78A-5-311, Utah Code Annotated 1953
38          78A-5-312, Utah Code Annotated 1953
39          78A-5-313, Utah Code Annotated 1953
40     REPEALS:
41          78A-5-301, as enacted by Laws of Utah 2015, Chapter 354

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

46          78A-5-301.5. Title.
47          This part is known as the "Veterans Treatment Court Act."
48          Section 2. Section 78A-5-302 is enacted to read:
49          78A-5-302. Definitions.
50          As used in this part:
51          (1) "Defendant" means a veteran charged with a criminal offense.
52          (2) "Domestic violence" means the same as that term is defined in Section 77-36-1.
53          (3) (a) "Participant agreement" means the record, required by Subsection
54     78A-5-304(1), of the policies and procedures of a veterans treatment court and any specific
55     terms and conditions applicable to the defendant.
56          (b) "Participant agreement" includes a modification under Section 78A-5-310.
57          (4) "Record," except as otherwise provided in Subsection 78A-5-307(1)(c), means
58     information that is inscribed on a tangible medium or that is stored in an electronic or other

59     medium and is retrievable in perceivable form.
60          (5) "Servicemember" means:
61          (a) a member of the active or reserve components of the Army, Navy, Air Force,
62     Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, of the United States; or
63          (b) a member of the National Guard of the United States.
64          (6) (a) "State" means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto
65     Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the
66     jurisdiction of the United States.
67          (b) "State" includes a federally recognized Indian tribe.
68          (7) "Veteran" means a former servicemember who qualifies for health care benefits
69     from the Veterans Administration.
70          (8) "Veterans treatment court" means a veterans treatment court program administered
71     under this part by a court of this state.
72          Section 3. Section 78A-5-303 is enacted to read:
73          78A-5-303. Creation of a veterans treatment court.
74          (1) The Judicial Council may create a veterans treatment court in any judicial district or
75     geographic region that demonstrates:
76          (a) the need for a veterans treatment court; and
77          (b) the existence of a collaborative strategy between the veterans treatment court,
78     prosecutors, defense attorneys, substance abuse treatment services, the Department of
79     Corrections, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach
80     Program to work with veteran offenders.
81          (2) A veterans treatment court shall:
82          (a) establish a collaborative strategy that includes monitoring and evaluation
83     components to measure program effectiveness; and
84          (b) submit a collaborative strategy, for the purpose of coordinating the disbursement of
85     funding, to the Administrative Office of the Courts.
86          (3) A veterans treatment court shall include continuous judicial supervision using a
87     cooperative approach with prosecutors, defense attorneys, substance abuse treatment services,
88     the Department of Corrections, and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans
89     Justice Outreach Program, as appropriate, to promote public safety, protect participants' due

90     process rights, and integrate veteran treatment programs with the justice system case
91     processing.
92          (4) Screening criteria for participation in a veterans treatment court shall include:
93          (a) a plea in abeyance or plea agreement for a criminal offense, or a requirement for
94     participation in a veterans treatment court as a condition of probation;
95          (b) frequent alcohol and other drug testing, if appropriate;
96          (c) participation in veteran outreach programs, including substance abuse treatment
97     programs where appropriate;
98          (d) sanctions for noncompliance with the requirements for participation in a veterans
99     treatment court; and
100          (e) any additional criteria developed by a veterans treatment court.
101          (5) No later than October 1 each year, the Administrative Office of the Courts shall
102     provide to the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee a written
103     report describing:
104          (a) the types of policies and procedures adopted by veteran treatment courts;
105          (b) the number of veteran participants in the previous fiscal year;
106          (c) the outcomes for veteran participants in the previous fiscal year; and
107          (d) recommendations for future veterans treatment courts, including expansion and
108     funding.
109          Section 4. Section 78A-5-304 is enacted to read:
110          78A-5-304. Record of policies and procedures.
111          (1) A veterans treatment court shall create a record of policies and procedures adopted
112     to implement Sections 78A-5-305 through 78A-5-312.
113          (2) A veterans treatment court shall seek input from prosecutors, defense attorneys, and
114     other interested persons in developing and adopting policies and procedures to implement
115     Sections 78A-5-305 through 78A-5-312.
116          Section 5. Section 78A-5-305 is enacted to read:
117          78A-5-305. Policies and procedures for a veterans treatment court.
118          (1) A veterans treatment court shall adopt policies and procedures to:
119          (a) integrate alcohol-treatment, drug-treatment, and mental-health services with the
120     defendant's criminal case;

121          (b) use a nonadversarial approach in which prosecutors and defense attorneys promote
122     public safety while protecting due-process rights of defendants;
123          (c) exercise early identification of eligible defendants;
124          (d) provide access to a continuum of alcohol-treatment, drug-treatment, mental-health
125     treatment, and other related treatment and rehabilitation services;
126          (e) monitor defendants for abstinence from alcohol and drugs by frequent testing;
127          (f) direct a coordinated strategy that responds to each defendant's needs;
128          (g) provide ongoing judicial interaction with each defendant;
129          (h) monitor and evaluate the achievement of goals;
130          (i) continue interdisciplinary education to promote effective veterans treatment court
131     planning, implementation, and operations; and
132          (j) forge partnerships between the veterans treatment court and the United States
133     Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Justice Outreach Program, the Department of
134     Veterans and Military Affairs, public agencies, and community-based organizations to generate
135     local support and enhance the effectiveness of the veterans treatment court.
136          (2) In adopting policies and procedures under this section, the court shall consider
137     nationally recognized best practices to implement the policies and procedures described in
138     Subsection (1) and comply with certification standards for problem-solving courts adopted by
139     the Judicial Council.
140          Section 6. Section 78A-5-306 is enacted to read:
141          78A-5-306. Supplemental policies and procedures of veterans treatment court.
142          (1) A veterans treatment court may adopt supplemental policies and procedures to:
143          (a) refer a defendant with a medical or medication need to an appropriate health care
144     provider;
145          (b) refer a defendant to other available services, including assistance with housing,
146     employment, nutrition, and education;
147          (c) provide a defendant access to a mentor who is a veteran;
148          (d) integrate intervention, treatment, and counseling, as part of the rehabilitative
149     services offered to a defendant who has been a victim of domestic violence, sexual trauma,
150     child abuse, or other trauma;
151          (e) confer with the victim or alleged victim of the domestic violence offense for which

152     the defendant is charged that serves as the basis for the defendant's participation in the veterans
153     treatment court;
154          (f) evaluate and assess a defendant charged with a domestic violence offense and
155     integrate specific counseling as part of the total rehabilitative services for the defendant;
156          (g) monitor a defendant charged with a domestic violence offense to assure compliance
157     with a domestic violence protection order, no-contact order, and prohibition of weapon
158     possession; and
159          (h) otherwise assist the veterans treatment court.
160          (2) In adopting policies and procedures under this section, the veterans treatment court
161     shall consider nationally recognized best practices related to policies and procedures described
162     in Subsection (1) and comply with certification standards for problem-solving courts adopted
163     by the Judicial Council.
164          Section 7. Section 78A-5-307 is enacted to read:
165          78A-5-307. Eligibility.
166          (1) A defendant is eligible to be screened for participation in a veterans treatment court
167     if:
168          (a) the defendant is a veteran;
169          (b) the defendant has a mental-health condition, traumatic brain injury, or substance
170     use disorder;
171          (c) the defendant agrees on the court record to voluntarily:
172          (i) participate in the veterans treatment court;
173          (ii) enter into a plea in abeyance or plea agreement, or participate in a veterans
174     treatment court as a condition of probation; and
175          (iii) adhere to a participant agreement; and
176          (d) as determined by the court, the defendant's participation in the veterans treatment
177     court would be in the interest of justice and of benefit to the defendant and the community.
178          (2) In making the determination under Subsection (1)(d), a court shall consider:
179          (a) the nature and circumstances of the offense charged;
180          (b) special characteristics or circumstances of the defendant, including the defendant's
181     criminogenic risk and need;
182          (c) the defendant's criminal history and whether the defendant previously participated

183     in a veterans treatment court or a similar program;
184          (d) whether the defendant's needs exceed treatment resources available to the veterans
185     treatment court;
186          (e) the impact on the community of the defendant's participation and treatment in the
187     veterans treatment court;
188          (f) special characteristics or circumstances of the victim or alleged victim;
189          (g) provision for, and the likelihood of obtaining, restitution from the defendant over
190     the course of participation in the veterans treatment court;
191          (h) the recommendation of the prosecutor regarding whether the defendant should
192     participate in a veterans treatment court;
193          (i) mitigating circumstances; and
194          (j) other circumstances reasonably related to the defendant, the defendant's case, and
195     available resources.
196          (3) Section 77-37-3 applies when making the determination under Subsections (1) and
197     (2).
198          Section 8. Section 78A-5-308 is enacted to read:
199          78A-5-308. Requirement for Admission.
200          For a defendant to be admitted to a veterans treatment court, the defendant and
201     prosecutor must sign, and the court must approve, a participant agreement and a plea in
202     abeyance, plea agreement, or probation agreement.
203          Section 9. Section 78A-5-309 is enacted to read:
204          78A-5-309. Victim of domestic violence.
205          (1) If a victim or alleged victim of a domestic violence offense that serves as the basis
206     for the defendant's participation in a veterans treatment court can be reasonably located, the
207     victim or alleged victim must be offered:
208          (a) referrals to domestic violence service providers; and
209          (b) information on how to report an allegation of:
210          (i) an offense committed by the defendant; or
211          (ii) a violation by the defendant of the participant agreement.
212          (2) Except as expressly provided for in this part, the participation of the defendant in a
213     veterans treatment court does not alter the rights of a victim or alleged victim of domestic

214     violence under the law of this state.
215          Section 10. Section 78A-5-310 is enacted to read:
216          78A-5-310. Modification or termination.
217          (1) (a) If a prosecutor finds that a defendant has failed to comply with the defendant's
218     participant agreement, the prosecutor may notify the veterans treatment court and the defendant
219     of the defendant's failure to comply with the participant agreement.
220          (b) Any notice by a prosecutor under Subsection (1)(a) shall include specific
221     allegations of the defendant's non-compliant conduct with the participant agreement.
222          (2) Upon notice under Subsection (1), or upon any other notice that the defendant has
223     failed to comply with the defendant's participant agreement, the veterans treatment court shall
224     hold a hearing, after giving notice to all parties, on the defendant's failure to comply with the
225     participant agreement.
226          (3) At the hearing described in Subsection (2), the veterans treatment court shall:
227          (a) review the defendant's conduct under the participant agreement; and
228          (b) hear recommendations from all parties in order to determine whether the
229     defendant's participation in the veterans treatment court should be modified or terminated.
230          (4) After notice and a hearing is provided in accordance with this section, the veterans
231     treatment court may modify or terminate a defendant's participation in a veterans treatment
232     court.
233          Section 11. Section 78A-5-311 is enacted to read:
234          78A-5-311. Completion of the participant agreement.
235          If the veterans treatment court determines that a defendant has completed the
236     requirements of the defendant's participant agreement, the court shall adjudicate the defendant's
237     case in accordance with the defendant's participant agreement and any applicable plea in
238     abeyance agreement, plea agreement, probation agreement, court order, or judgment.
239          Section 12. Section 78A-5-312 is enacted to read:
240          78A-5-312. No right to participate.
241          This part does not create a right to participation in a veterans treatment court.
242          Section 13. Section 78A-5-313 is enacted to read:
243          78A-5-313. Severability.
244          If any provision of this part, or the application of any provision of this part to any

245     person or circumstance, is held invalid, the remainder of this part shall be given effect without
246     the invalid provision or application.
247          Section 14. Repealer.
248          This bill repeals:
249          Section 78A-5-301, Creation of a veterans court program -- Definition of a
250     veterans court program -- Criteria for participation in a veterans court program --
251     Reporting requirements.