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First defendant completes veterans treatment court

The first federal defendant who took part in the veterans treatment court has successfully completed the program, according to U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr.

The defendant, who was not identified, entered a pre-trial diversion agreement in September 2010 whereby prosecution of a federal criminal case for assault and making telephonic threats was deferred for 18 months. As a condition, the defendant had to comply with a set of conditions, including the successful completion of the veterans treatment court, administered by Judge Robert T. Russell, acting Erie County Court judge and Buffalo City Court judge. As a result, federal charges against the defendant will be dropped.

“While the office’s primary responsibility is to enforce the law, some cases require a different prosecutorial approach,” Hochul said in a release. “Military veterans whose conduct was the result of mental health and/or drug and alcohol dependency related to their military service may fall into this category.”

The program was the first one of its kind in any of the 94 federal judicial districts across the country.

Hochul applauded the efforts of First Assistant U.S. Attorney J.P. Kennedy, Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward H. White and the federal public defender who worked together to make the program a success.