Veterans Court helping make a difference

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BY NICK HYTREK

Standing at parade rest in a Woodbury County courtroom, Nick Sampson tells a judge about the progress he’s made in his treatment for mental illness.

He believes he’s been doing well while on pretrial release since his arrest last summer on a charge of reckless use of a firearm.

District Judge Jeffrey Poulson agrees, so much so that he approves Sampson’s request to visit his father out of state this summer. Then Poulson promotes Sampson, an Army veteran, to Phase 3 of the Woodbury County Veterans Treatment Court and gives him a military-style dog tag with the word “Honor” stamped on it.

The dog tag is symbolic of the work Sampson has done since his arrest. But the real reward, he said, is the alternative Veterans Court has presented him. “I’d be in jail or prison,” Sampson said after his hearing.hire vets





Five military veterans took turns standing before Poulson Friday, roughly the one-year anniversary of Woodbury County’s launch of Iowa’s first Veterans Court, a diversionary program designed to help keep military veterans in trouble with the law out of jail.

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