EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. (CN) – Madison County’s new veterans court will be among the first in the country. The court will be tailored to help military veterans with drug and alcohol addictions or mental health issues who are accused of nonviolent crimes. Chief Circuit Judge Ann Callis said this court may be unique in that all of the key personnel are veterans themselves.
The presiding judge will be Charles Romani, a combat veteran of the Vietnam War. Brian Hodge, a combat veteran of Desert Storm, will handle the mentoring aspects of the program.
The court’s mental health probation officer is Dennis Baker, who served in the Army Medical Corps in Europe in the Vietnam era.
The prosecutor is Michael Stewart, a former Marine corporal.
The court will be the second of its kind in Illinois, the other one being in Cook County.
It is the fourth such court in the country, Callis said. The court will require no additional funding and will be assisted by volunteer lawyers from the Madison County Bar Association.