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New misdemeanor court to help veterans

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HOUSTON – Harris County commissioners have unanimously approved a new court for veterans arrested for misdemeanor crimes.

The Houston Chronicle reports the court will begin hearing cases in November for veterans whose criminal behavior stems from combat-related trauma. The court can serve as many as 30 clients at a time.

Proponents say the court will help local veterans struggling with the mental and physical trauma of their service abroad.

The program allows for veterans charged with misdemeanors to receive medical help for their underlying conditions and avoid a criminal record or jail time.

The first veteran's court was established six years ago in Buffalo, New York. Since then, more than 150 similar courts or programs have been set up across the nation.