Mahoning County Veterans' Court celebrates first graduates - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Mahoning County Veterans' Court celebrates first graduates

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Mahoning County Common Pleas Court celebrated the first graduates of a Veteran's Honor Court on Tuesday. 

Judge Anthony  D'Apolito presented awards to two Mahoning Valley veterans who completed the requirements to graduate from the Common Pleas Veterans' Honor Court. 

The special court, modeled after one at the Youngstown Municipal level, is designed to help veterans who face criminal charges because of their history and service. 

The Veteran Court places special importance on veterans who have mental health or substance abuse disorders because of their time serving the country. 

As a result, veterans who face charges related to substance abuse or mental health can be referred to the Veterans Court, where they are required to meet several criteria, with the help of a specially designed team of parole officers, lawyers, counselors, treatment providers, and more. 

In exchange for meeting the criteria of the program, the criminal cases against the veterans are then dismissed upon graduation. 

Youngstown's Municipal level Veterans' Honor Court handles veterans who have been charged with misdemeanor crimes. Now, the Veterans' Court at the county level will be able to help veterans facing felony charges.

There are less than two dozen Veterans' Court systems in the state of Ohio. Mahoning County now houses two of them. 

Both of the veterans who graduated Tuesday say they plan to use their experience to help others in the future. 

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