Donation of law books meant to aid defense in Allegheny County Veterans Court
In a move to strengthen Allegheny County Veterans Court, the district attorney's office said on Wednesday it's donating 10 law books to Duquesne University law students who will help a supervising attorney defend veterans in the program.
The county's veterans court, run by Common Pleas Judge John A. Zottola, is in its third year and focuses on treatment-style sentences for veterans accused of crimes. The sentences are meant to stress rehabilitation over incarceration.
“We should do a lot more for our veterans,” District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. told a roomful of judges, law students, professors and former Steelers running back Rocky Bleier, a Vietnam veteran and advocate for veterans.
Several Duquesne law students who will defend veterans in the specialty court said they are excited for the opportunity.
“As a kid, I was always intrigued by the military, but it wasn't until later that I realized the great service they provided us with,” said Rob Bosilovic, 23, who recently finished his first year of law school. “I want to try and do everything I can to help people who helped us.”
The judge said prosecutors have the final say about who is eligible for the veterans court, but typically only homicide and serious sexual offenses disqualify a defendant. About 60 veterans who have been arrested are in the program. About 40 vets have graduated from the program in the past two years.
As part of their sentence, they can receive alcohol or drug treatment, mental health treatment or other terms. They must return to Zottola periodically to report progress.
Attorney Dan Kunz, an adjunct professor at Duquesne who supervises the law student portion of the program, said the students are certified legal interns and act under his supervision.
“We take the burden off of the public defender's office,” Kunz said. “It gives the students a small taste of practicing law.”
Zappala authorized the spending of $1,750 for 10 books aimed at teaching the students how to handle cases involving veterans. Zappala used drug forfeiture money for the purchase, he said.
Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Report linking field surface to cancer elicits Mt. Lebanon protest
- Contempt citation sought by state against Highmark for alleged violation of deal with UPMC
- Move-in begins at new homes on site of Hill District housing project
- Unexpected work delays Allegheny County Health Department’s move into former morgue
- Pittsburgh’s Veterans Day parade moves to Saturday
- VA promotion for administrator stuns legislator
- Allegheny County health officials call on retirement homes to stay vigilant on Legionella prevention
- Pittsburgh police officers start wearing video cameras
- 12-year-old’s donated heart joins families, lets her memory live
- Port Authority police to close I-279 lanes to investigate bus crash
- Canadians more fearful, aware after ‘very rare’ attack in Ottawa