When he finally took his foot off the gas, he was handcuffed and later charged with DUI, evading arrest, assault on a police officer and more.
Still in the Marine Corps at the time, and living at Camp Pendleton, Gonzales’s first court appearance was brief; he argued with the judge and got himself ejected.
But then he finally listened to his counsel: “My lawyer recommended I go to veterans court” — one of a growing number of such programs that oversee criminal cases involving military veterans who were arrested at least partly because of an addiction or mental illness, most commonly depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
An average of 22 military veterans commit suicide every day in this country, perhaps the best measure of the mental health crisis among veterans. And 130 special courts for veterans in 40 states are tackling that problem.
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