On Saturday, September 30, 2017 a dedicated group of Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School students alumnae and the staff of our Office of Experiential Learning, in collaboration with the Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) division of the U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs, Atlanta, GA participated in the Annual Stand Down Court held at Fort McPherson Army Base. The Stand Down Court was created by Judge Monica Ewing to assist homeless veterans who have outstanding warrants and misdemeanor charges. Homeless veterans face barriers to resolving these legal issues due to unemployment, poverty, and untreated mental health and substance abuse issues. These barriers lead to chronic homelessness and incarceration.
AJMLS students, under the supervision of AJMLS alumnae attorneys, interviewed and presented the Veterans’ cases before the presiding judge at the Stand Down Court. The judge, the students, and the attorneys discussed treatment and legal recommendations for the veterans. The judge then made a decision about the treatment and legal recommendations and issued a court order. If the matter was not in the judge’s jurisdiction, the judge sent an advocacy letter and court order to the appropriate jurisdiction and judge.
The 12 AJMLS students, alumnae, and Office of Experiential Learning staff who participated in the Stand Down Court worked diligently from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and served approximately 40 homeless veterans. The need is great and unfortunately all veterans were not able to be served due to the time restrictions. However, the students were thrilled to provide these pro bono services to our men and women in uniform as this is such a worthy cause.