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North Dakota Veterans Court

Benefit Category: State

To best accommodate North Dakota’s large geographic size and vast rural areas a “Virtual, Rural Veterans Court” has been implemented to serve our returning Veterans.  The main components and process of the ND Virtual Rural Veterans Court are…

Identification of Veterans: Identify justice involved veterans

  •   Key areas to identify veterans in legal system are used with a “have you ever served in military” question
    • Jail/detention center check in questionnaire form.
      • Training which has been approved by the ND Peace Officers Association for Continued Education Units for ND peace officers is provided to city, county and state officers at association training events to inform them of ND Veterans court, treatments available and veteran’s reintegration issues
    •  Clerk of Courts form

Connect with services: Connect Justice involved veterans with VA Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator (VJO)

  • Justice involved persons who are identified as “Veterans” are provided contact information for VA VJO coordinator
  • VA VJO begins working with the Veteran at earliest point of contact
  • VA VJO connects veteran with peer support/mentor
    •  Vets 4 Warriors will provide 24/7 peer support and mentorship for the Veteran

Develop plan: Veteran, VJO and legal counsel determine eligibility and best potential options

  • Determine if military service experiences may have contributed to Veteran’s current justice involvement.

Agree to plan: VJO works with VA providers, Judge, Veteran, Defense and prosecuting attorneys to agree on a plan of action.

  • VJO and defense attorney work with prosecutor and judge to develop a satisfactory plan of action
    • Training which has been approved by the ND Bar Association for Continued Education Units for ND Attorneys and Judges is provided to Attorney’s at association training events to inform them of ND Veterans court, treatments available and veteran’s reintegration issues.
    • ND District Judges Bench Binders have a section which addresses Veterans Court options.

Act on Plan: If plan is agreed on Veteran moves through the process. Two of the most commonly used approaches are…

  • Allow the veteran to be released with or without bail to gain the needed behavior treatment needed. Then return to court to have a trial.
    • This treatment can be conducted in house at a VA treatment center at no cost to the ND court system or veteran. Courts cannot sentence a veteran to VA treatment, veteran has to agree to treatment and utilize the treatment of their choice. VJO will assist in coordinating treatment options at the Federal VA.
    • Results of the treatment can be considered by the court. With hopes of a better outcome for the veteran to return to his/her community and become a productive and positive member of society.
  • Veteran agrees to plead guilty to charges or lessor charges. Sentencing is deferred until a later date. Veteran attends treatment programs as agreed upon by all stakeholders.
    • Veteran can attend VA in-house treatment programs at no cost to ND Courts or Veteran.  Courts cannot sentence veteran to VA treatment facilities. VJO will work our treatment arrangements.
    • Once in-house treatment is completed out-patient treatment programs can be required also.
    •  After successful in-house and out-patient treatment requirements are met and an established time period has passed with the Veteran showing improvements in behavior health a re-trial can happened where the veteran could have charges removed from their record.

Contact ND Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator:

Jennifer Kimball Walter LICSW
​Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator
​Fargo VA Medical Center
2101 Elm St. N
Fargo, ND 58102

(701) 239-3700 ext 4568

Email: Jennifer.KimballWalter@va.gov

More on VA VJO

Important things to consider…

*The ND Veterans Treatment Court is not a “Get out of Jail” free card. It is an opportunity for our veterans to get the much needed treatments they deserve and a chance from them to get past their issues and return to their community as a productive member of our society.

*ND parents raise good children who attend our fine education systems, community programs, churches and organizations. They have good morals and values instilled upon them by their family, friends and community.  North Dakota is a very patriotic state which has a large number of citizens who serve in our military. Service in our military is a great and honorable thing to do but it unfortunately has the potential to cause our children mental and behavioral health problems when they return home. These problems sometimes take time to develop and on occasion cause our veterans to become justice involved. It is important that we remember that if our government “broke” our children, we need to expect our government to provide the opportunity to “Fix” them before they enter the revolving door of our prison system. 

Discharge Requests

Most Veteran’s benefits require that applicants provide a copy of their Form DD 214 or discharge record, which is evidence of their veteran status. This is an important document and must be safeguarded. In the State of North Dakota separation documents are considered confidential and privileged NDCC 37-18-11 (13). National Guard members may receive a NGB22 and /or NGB23 upon obtaining 20 years of satisfactory service (20 year letter).