In 2009, Forrest Beadle witnessed a childhood friend and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan suffer a PTSD episode. This troubling experience led Forrest to undertake the creation of the Denton County Veterans Treatment Court Program. Since 2009, Forrest Beadle has served as the Chief Prosecutor for the Denton County Veterans Treatment Court Program. This is a specialty court administered by County Criminal Court No. 3. It is specifically designed for those service members suffering with a military service related trauma or disorder that have been charged with a crime; many of whom are also struggling with substance use and/or drug use.
The focus is placed on counseling and treatment of the underlying conditions rather than on punishment. The ultimate goal of the court is to give those veterans, who have been forever changed because of their service to our country, a second chance to rehabilitate themselves before there is a conviction on their record that will follow them around for the rest of their lives.
In order to participate in the program, the veteran must meet certain criteria, volunteer for treatment, enter a plea of guilty to the offense. The Court will then order them into the treatment court. From there, the veteran will then report to a probation officer or the Court at least once a week and must comply with the monitoring, testing or counseling requirements set forth by the judge. The veteran’s progress is reviewed weekly, and if the program is completed satisfactorily, the charge against the veteran will be dropped and will be available for expunction.
If the veteran does not complete the program as prescribed by the judge, then they will return to the regular criminal court system to be held accountable for their actions. However, this court is an important gesture to show our veterans that the people of Denton County still care about them after they return, and that non-violent offenders deserve a second chance as a sign of our appreciation for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf.