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S.F. No. 1153 - Providing Guidance to Courts on Sentencing Veterans for Criminal Offenses Related to a Service-Related Disorder
Author: Senator Roger C. Chamberlain
Prepared By: Joan White, Senate Counsel (651/296-3814)
Date: February 19, 2019


S.F. No. 1153 amends the criminal code to provide an alternative sentencing option to courts on sentencing veterans for certain criminal offenses related to a service-related condition.

Section 1 (609.1056, subdivision 1), paragraph (a) requires the court to, prior to entering a plea of guilty for a person charged with certain criminal offenses who alleges that the offense was committed as a result of a service-related disorder, make a determination as to whether the defendant is a member of the United States Military and whether the defendant may be suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health conditions as a result of the person’s service.

Paragraph (b) provides that if a defendant under paragraph (a) pleads guilty, the court shall defer further proceedings, without entering a judgment of guilty with the consent of the defendant, and place the defendant on probation.

Paragraph (c) provides that if probation is violated, the court may enter an adjudication of guilt.

Paragraph (d) allows the court to order the defendant to attend a treatment program for a period not to exceed the time that the defendant would have served in a correctional facility or jail.

Paragraph (e) provides that the defendant receives sentence credits for the time spent in residential treatment.

Paragraph (f) provides guidance to the court in choosing a treatment program.

Paragraph (g) requires the court and treatment program, when available, to collaborate with Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs and the United States Department of Veterans Affairs to maximize benefits and services.

Paragraph (h) allows the defendant to be supervised by a veterans treatment court program, if one is available.

Subdivision 2 specifies the guidelines for restoring the veteran to the community of law abiding citizens, and requires the court to discharge the person and dismiss the proceedings if certain requirements are met.  Prohibits dismissal of a case that requires a predatory offender registration.

Subdivision 3 allows a veterans treatment court to supervise probation using the county veterans service officers, Department of Veterans Affairs veterans justice outreach specialist, probation agents, and other rehabilitation resources.

Subdivision 4 authorizes a county or city to establish and operate a veterans pretrial diversion program for persons under subdivision 1.


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