The Veterans Defense Project (VDP), is non-profit, 501-(c) (3) human service organization, dedicated to providing practical, no-nonsense attention to the needs of veterans facing legal situations.
Defending veterans in the criminal court system hasn't been a cottage industry for a long time. While the library of solid, practical information on the issues involved in working with veterans involved with the criminal courts has been lacking, the increased demand for attorneys to represent clients who may have served recently in Iraq or Afghanistan -- or years ago in Desert Storm or Vietnam, is increasing. And the more that is understood about the realities of PTSD, TBI, substance abuse, and other issues related to combat, the stronger the need for professionals who can provide appropriate defense and argue effectively for treatment during the sentencing phase of trial.
There is a growing library of journal articles and published texts that cover the latest research in these areas. The knowledge base is currently the largest and most qualified and quantified ever. The pool of experts has not reached a saturation point, but their numbers have grown substantially in recent years. However, the need for practical, hands-on material that litigators can pick up and put to immediate use remains quite limited.
Initiated by the National Veterans Foundation, the VDP took over the writing, execution and publication of a tool that would serve defense attorneys in their efforts to provide the best services to their veteran clients suffering from legitimate combat-related issues. It was clear from the beginning of the project that material used come from outstanding experts from the legal, medical and mental health fields. That objective has been accomplished.
A solid defense for veterans involved in criminal cases, that could utilize a combat-related impairment position, was one objective. The second was to provide a firm foundation for attorneys to argue effectively, if needed, for treatment during incarceration. This project was not initiated to create a "get out of jail card" for veterans on trial. The purpose was to create the best defense and back it up with efforts to provide ongoing post-trial treatment.