A little known statute may become more prominently cited in the courtroom in the near future as more veterans begin to return from the tours of duty in the Middle East. Pc 1170.9 “lets judges, under certain circumstances, sentence combat veterans suffering from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) to psychiatric help instead of jail time for their crimes”. Although this statute could give a chance for veterans suffering from PTSD to stay out of jail, the statute is not very well known and even in San Diego County which has a large military population, the law has only been cited twice as of June according to deputy Public Defender James E. Faulder, who handled the cases (Herbert A. Sample, California Lawyer, December 2008).
As soldiers that have served in the Middle East are coming home, it’s becoming consistently more noticeable that servicemen and women are coming home with severe PTSD. Nearly 40,000 soldiers have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2003, according to an Army report, not including obviously many more who haven’t sought help. They are coming home with such severe trauma because they are being sent on 3rd, 4th, and 5th tours to the Middle East (Herbert A. Sample, California Lawyer, December 2008).
An experienced and knowledgeable California criminal defense attorney is essential for fighting these cases as they will be aware of little known statues such as this one and be able to most adequately defend these soldiers. As these soldiers continue to be shipped back home, pc 1170.9 will undoubtedly be an effective tool for defending these servicemen and women if they, due to their suffering from PTSD, get into trouble with the law.
Wallin & Klarich has over 30 years of experience in criminal defense and has knowledgeable misdemeanor and felony defense lawyers in California waiting for your call. Call us 24 hours a day 7 days a week at 888-749-0034 to talk to one of our attorneys and get the help you need in your criminal matter. Also visit us on the web at www.wklaw.com.