OFFICE OF THE PUBLIC DEFENDER 12th JUDICIAL CIRCUIT of FLORIDA LARRY L. EGER, Public Defender Serving, DeSoto, Manatee, & Sarasota Counties

Court Assisting Veterans

Since the early 2000s, the nation has decided that veterans deserve better care. The 12th Judicial Circuit has embraced this mandate by creating the Courts Assisting Veteran's (CAV) program now in its 11th year. This program will work with all veterans from all conflicts as well as peacetime service regardless of military discharge with criminal charges to help them navigate the criminal justice system and help them try to avoid incarceration as a punishment for criminal accusations.

The program was created to offer military veterans diversionary care versus incarceration and to minimize recidivism. By conducting an intake with the veterans, our program can look at the benefits available to the veteran, the issues of the case, and most importantly the underlying issues the veteran may have. The CAV would then make a sentencing proposal with wrap-around care versus or in conjunction with a lesser amount of incarceration. This may include substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, recovery home offerings, housing assistance, and employment help.

The VA (Veterans Administration) coupled with the robust community offerings available allow the CAV program to develop alongside the assistant public defender a plan that reduces the risk of re-offending and most importantly allows a veteran to overcome the issues that ultimately led them to come in contact with the legal system.

If you are a veteran, it is highly recommended that you advise your attorney of your branch of service, dates of service, type of discharge, combat deployment, and any service connect disability and whether you would be interested in looking into service the CAV may be able to provide.

If you would like to speak directly to the veteran coordinator, please contact:
Veteran's Coordinator
Greg Para, USNR

Championing the accused with the utmost professionalism and humanity