As a former Marine, Honorable Penney Azcarate, of the Fairfax County General District Court, has the unique perspective of understanding the difficulties faced by veterans coming back from duty and adjusting to civilian life. Over her years of presiding as judge, she noticed a pattern of veterans returning from duty only to find themselves in recurring trouble with law enforcement.
In a system that not uniquely tailored to account PTSD, traumatic brain injury, substance abuse and other consequences from the fall out of service, Judge Azcarate is leading an effort to create the Veterans Treatment Docket. The Docket would help the Court identify individuals charged with crimes as veterans and steer them towards much needed treatment, rather than a cycle of criminal convictions and jail sentences.
Though this type of docket is not the first in the country, Judge Azcarate is leading the way in Northern Virginia. This is truly important work, and it's great to see Judge Azcarate's sincere efforts.