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UPDATE: One step closer to 'Veteran's Court' in Smith County

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POSTED: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 6:12pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 26, 2010 - 6:21pm

TYLER - Smith County is now one step closer to getting a veteran's court.

It's a project that's been in the works for the past 2 years.

Last week in an open court session, a 'task force' appointed for the veterans court presented plans for implementation of the court which were approved unanimously.

The court is designed as an optional measure for judges to provide help to veterans suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems linked to their time in the service.

Veterans with pending misdemeanor or felony offense charges who meet several guidelines will have the one-time opportunity to avoid jail time, enter treatment and a mentoring program.

Choya Shanahan is a social worker who helped envision the project.  She says the court is now almost a reality thanks to Smith County leadership.

"Their vision, their foresight, and their diligence in pushing this forward has really been appreciated by all 18,000 veterans in Smith County."

Shanahan says they are very optimistic the veteran's court will become a reality.

She hopes it will be on the commissioners court agenda next Tuesday.

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