We are happy to reporr that the Gulf War Veteran who was being prosecuted for gun violations after calling a suicide hotline last year, will be offered court-mandated counseling at a new Veterans Treatment Court that will avoid prosecution under an agreement reached last week.
Sean Duvall was charged with making a homemade weapon following a call for help to a confidential crisis line run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Veterans and mental health advocates had protested the case, saying they feared prosecution would have a chilling effect on other vets who are in need of help. After U.S. Attorney Timothy Heaphy reviewed the case, he said he thought that “maybe we ought to take a deep breath.” The veterans court, he said, would help Duvall fix “the underlying issue that led to the commission of this crime.”
Mental Health America had called for dismissal of the charges and pointed out that many jurisdictions have established specialized veterans’ courts that seek to avoid the unnecessary criminalization of mental illness and recognize the special circumstances experienced by nation’s veterans.