DUI dismissed, Housing, Mental Health Treatment, UCI Masters Graduate
Josh M. is a Navy veteran who was dealing with multiple DUIs and saw no path forward other than jail or death. On top of Josh’s DUI’s, he was also dealing with being kicked out of UCLA and evicted from his apartment. These traumatic events, coupled with Josh’s untreated mental illness that arose from his time in the service, eventually led to a suicide attempt. This is where CVJP first met Josh. On a chance referral to our organization, we were able to connect Josh that day with housing. We soon began to work with his court appointed defense attorney (after he had spent thousands on private attorneys who were going to get him charged and locked up), and got Josh set up in a mental health treatment program, which is required for the statutes, but was also lifesaving for Josh. Flash forward two years later and both of Josh’s cases have been dismissed. Josh recently graduated with his Masters in Public Policy from the University of California, Irvine and has been able to move on with his life in a healthy and fulfilling manner, leaving his trauma and criminal record in the past.
DUI dismissed, Housing, Employment, Financial Stability
Edgar D. I served from 2013-2016 active duty in the Army. When I got out I went through divorce and ended up living in my car. I hit rock bottom , could not stop drinking , out of a job , and in debt cause of my marriage. To make matters worse I got a DUI. I came into the CVJP broke , angry and depressed. Jodi was extremely patient with me and pointed me in the right direction. My life was turned around since our first phone call! My case was dismissed , got a dissolution for my marriage. Along with housing , I got my associates degree and I am financially stable. This year I became part of a veteran fire crew!
Samantha Z. is a female veteran who was homeless (sleeping on a college campus), self-medicating with drugs, suffered military sexual trauma (MST), and with a pending DUI. CVJP was able to get her into a beautiful life, in a dual diagnosis drug treatment program where she was able to detox for 60 days, then transferred to an incredible home in Mission Viejo specific for female veterans with MST. She was able to get comprehensive care for 90 days, then given continuing support placement where she can live up to 2 years while CVJP pursues diversion of her case to have it dismissed.
Justice Involved Veteran
Royce R. is a veteran who had gotten his 3rd DUI in 2015 and never appeared in court. He had been told all this time that he owed the VA over $70,000 and could no longer get his VA benefits. These VA benefits were not used for nearly 4 years. In fact, if you are convicted of a felony and incarcerated for over 60 days, the VA can stop payment of a veteran’s VA benefits. However, neither of those things had happened to Royce, yet somehow his benefits had gotten shut off up because of his misdemeanor arrests.
A VA VJO contacted for Royce, saying that he had felt beaten down and overwhelmed all this time, yet was doing everything he could to get his life together while living at significant veteran program. CVJP was able to find his 3 cases with 3 warrants.One was his open DUI and 2 were probation violations in different courts with different amounts on the warrants. We had him get letters from the programs he was in and set up a plan to go the court with the largest warrant first. We worked with his Public Defender to keep him out of custody and get all 3 warrants recalled.Also, with his open case, CVJP helped his Public Defender use the CA Veteran diversion statute, because he had never gotten treatment before. Within 2 weeks we were able to get his VA benefits straightened out and get all his back pay!
Justice Involved Veteran
Frank J. had an outstanding warrant from Santa Barbara Veteran Treatment Court for non-payment of fines that had gone into collections. The warrant was interfering with him getting his VA benefits and threatened his liberty, as he could get arrested at any time.
Because his VA benefits were being interfered with, it made it all the more difficult to pay the fines and get to Santa Barbara since he was in LA. He had tried for over a year to take care of it but was constantly told “once it was in collections neither the Public Defender, nor the judge, could get involved”. CVJP sent the Public Defender in the Santa Barbara VTC an email that they needed to file a motion to quash the warrant and showed them the case law that gave them authority forcing the clerk to file the motion. The clerk has no authority to not take the motion, only the judge can decide to deny the motion, not a clerk (Voit case: Voit v. Superior Court (Montano) (2011) 201 Cal. App. 4th 1285, 1287-1288). Additionally CVJP sent them the appeal case that states the court can’t issue a warrant for fines owed without FIRST holding an “Ability to Pay” Hearing, and finding if the defendant has the ability to pay. Otherwise, the court must stay the fines.
OTH Discharge Upgrade
Mark W. was raised in Compton, went to prestigious schools, and became an emergency physician and Navy Lt Commander. He performed 2 tours of combat in Iraq as emergency physician, seeing some of the worst of the worst. Suffered PTSD after first combat tour, yet didn’t receive treatment. Was married with 4 children, but his wife spent lots of money trying to cope with him being gone. Mark worked double shifts in the emergency department as military/civilian—using energy drinks to endure. He began having conflicts with command; they said he couldn’t work at civilian hospital and were going to deploy him on 3rd combat tour despite many others not being deployed a first time. Mark wanted to save his wife and children and continued working. Mark’s only coping mechanism was to work harder. They threatened to court martial him and he ended up with an OTH discharge. Despite his best efforts, divorce ensured and it wasn’t amicable. Mark vandalized her car when she refused to let him see his children as promised—they had mutual restraining orders—so he was convicted of violating restraining order & vandalism. This lead to his medical license being suspended, 5 years of unemployment, living on food stamps and trying to get his medical license back. CVJP helped him get an attorney to represent him for his medical license. CVJP testified for him at his hearing and his probation was terminated early and he was reinstated. CVJP helped him get a discharge upgrade to a general under honorable conditions and is currently working on getting an honorable discharge. Mark is in the CVJ video and helps on speaker panels which CVJP organizes to end the stigma for mental health treatment for vets.
Restraining wall/VA Ramp
Steve M. is a disabled veteran who contacted CVJP to assist with a situation that was causing destruction and limiting access to his home that he and his wife shared. A faulty retaining wall was to blame and he could not build a ramp that he desperately needed to access his home. No one wanted to take responsivity and fix the mistakes, until Steve contacted CVJP. Immediate action was taken and Steve was connected to his local government representatives and he was also assisted in writing formal requests to his representatives as well as to his Property Management Company. CVJP motivated Steve to keep submitting his formal requests until, finally, the Property Management Company involved took responsibility and replaced the retaining wall as well as paid for the substantial damages that were caused. Steve and his wife were so proud of this successful outcome. Please see his quote for how he feels about CVJP:
“Ms. Galvin is a real gem who truly cares about veterans. None of the work that was accomplished could have been done without her. My wife Robin and I are forever grateful to you.”
DUI diversion, Eviction, working on felony
Robert K. CVJP was able to help Robert keep an eviction off his record, get military diversion for a DUI and found him a defense attorney who took his case pro bono to then file a federal lawsuit against law enforcement for violating his civil rights for assaulting this disabled veteran.
Robert is a veteran who was a walk-in to our CVJP intake site at the West LA VA Medical Center when he was enrolled in a residential treatment program there. He had recently enrolled in the program as a result of a DUI charge. Unfortunately, soon after enrolling in that program, Robert experienced a relapse. CVJP sprung into action and, through their connections, was able to get him into another residential treatment program seamlessly. That program worked for Robert and he was able to complete the treatment program successfully. CVJP was able to collaborate with Robert’s public defender and the Veteran Justice Officer (VJO) to get him diversion granted for his charge. This experience was life-changing for Robert. He decided he wanted to help other veterans in the same way CVJP helped him. Today, Robert continues to maintain his sobriety and also completed the VA training to become a Peer Support Specialist. Robert is well on his way to accomplish his goal of working for the VA as a Peer Support Specialist and helping fellow veterans in need.
Omar is a Marine Corps veteran who came to CVJP when he was homeless with 2 DUI charges and a public intoxication charge. In addition, Omar’s drinking and limited coping skills had led to unfortunate issues during his service and he received an Other Than Honorable Discharge for which he also needed assistance with upgrading. Added to his military trauma, Omar also experienced childhood trauma through the foster care system. His trauma history was the precursor for his PTSD, depression and alcohol dependence. CVJP was the stabilizing force that Omar desperately needed in his life. Even after Omar would relapse, CVJP would still be there for him and worked to get him into treatment program after treatment program – until one finally worked for Omar.
He was granted diversion in his cases, is taking classes to get his driver’s license back, and is in the progress of getting his discharge upgrade. Today, Omar is successfully employed, sober, living in a veteran’s transitional housing facility and very hopeful about his future.
Randy is an Army veteran who served a combat tour in Afghanistan. Due to his military service traumas as well as his childhood traumas, Randy suffered complex and severe mental health and substance abuse issues that lead to him picking up multiple cases across multiple cities. CVJP set into action and helped Randy get the mental health and substance abuse treatment he is so desperately needed and thus granted a diversion; however he also picked up additional charges which further complicated his case. Calling in additional resources and utilizing a collaborative approach with several different entities including the VA and Department of Mental Health; CVJP led the effort to get Randy into intensive treatment which made all the difference. Randy was able to finally complete a treatment program and eventually all of his cases were dismissed. Currently, Randy has stable housing and employment, remains active in outpatient treatment and his AA community, and is doing very well. Please see his quote for how he feels about CVJP: “Ms. Galvin along with VJO. The organization really went out of their way to help me. I was a difficult client, and although sometimes I wanted to forget it all because it was overwhelming with all the cases that I had in different cities, they continued to believe that I can do what needed to be done. They spoke with all the different public defenders to get them on the same page. They provided me with supporting letters and helped me get into the Domiciliary quickly. With VJO and Ms. Gavin’s experience in being a former prosecutor, they’re words and letters were felt heavily. I’m truly grateful that I reached out to them. If you’re experiencing legal issues, I highly recommend to reach out to them for help. “
Danielle is a Marine Corps Veteran originally from Philadelphia. She honorably served in the Marine Corps for eight years and after finishing her tour of service decided to stay in California where she attended UCLA and earned a degree in Anthropology. Danielle contacted CVJP for assistance with a complicated divorce from her husband. Danielle needed to ensure she had custody of her Autistic daughter so that she would receive the care that she needed to thrive. CVJP not only supported Danielle in getting her the resources and services she needed, but they were able to connect her with one of the top family attorneys in Los Angeles who was willing to take on her case pro bono. Danielle’s divorce case was resolved in her favor and she was so satisfied with the results from CVJP that she decided to become a CVJP Volunteer. Danielle stated that she wanted to be part of CVJP so she could help her fellow veterans get back on track. Danielle enjoys being part of the CVJP team as she feels she can be of assistance to veterans who are trying to regain their independence and become active participants in society.
Reginald is an honorably discharged veteran who was doing well until he picked up a DUI charge. This charge was disastrous as Reginald’s job depended on having his driving license and thus he lost his job. This led to Reginald also losing his housing as well as his long term relationship with his girlfriend. Reginald was in dire circumstances when CVJP stepped in to help. CVJP not only got Reginald a diversion for his DUI case which he successfully completed, but CVJP also got him a job through their security guard employment connections. Today, Reginald is now a supervisor at the same security guard company where CVJP initially got him a job and he is proud to be one year sober!
Phillip is a veteran who contacted CVJP for assistance when he was enrolled in a residential treatment program at the West LA VA Medical Center. He was on a good path to make positive changes in his life when he discovered he had an issue with an old warrant that was affecting his benefits. This situation was extremely agitating for Phillip and it threatened both his new found recovery as well as the progress he was making in his residential treatment program. To make matters worse, his warrant issue was in Lancaster so he was even more reluctant to address it as he did not want to leave his residential program in West LA. CVJP stepped in immediately and connected with Phillip’s public defender as well as the Veteran Justice Officer (VJO) in Lancaster. After many negotiations, CVJP successfully arranged to have Phillip’s case transferred to Veterans Treatment Court (VTC) and for him to be allowed to continue his treatment at the West LA VA. Due to CVJP’s dedication and assistance, Phillip was able to complete his residential program and thus his case was dismissed. Phillip’s public defender reported that while he had worked with a great many veterans, Phillip was his first case where the veteran actually completed diversion and had his case dismissed. Phillip is an inspiration to all.
Ge’Kayla is an 80% SC Veteran and a young mother of two sons who had a legal issue in which CVJP assisted her in getting an alternate sentence. As part of her alternative sentence, Ge’Kayla was given probation with 200 hours of community service. However, due to her disability, she was physically unable to do the community service that was initially assigned to her. CVJP staff suggested Ge’Kayla consider becoming a CVJP Worker at our intake site at the West LA VA Medical Center to fulfill her community service hours. Ge’Kayla was very excited and hopeful about this option; however, she was extremely anxious about asking her probation officer for approval. CVJP supported Ge’Kayla in developing a formal request and it was accepted! Ge’Kayla then completed the CVJP Volunteer Training and is doing an excellent job as a CVJP Worker helping veterans like herself overcome their legal barriers. She is nearly half way through her community service requirement and is looking forward to completing her probation requirements through her volunteer position with CVJP where she enjoys giving back to other veterans.
Vernon is a young Veteran who experienced a weapons charge and needed assistance with all aspects of obtaining the necessary requirements to try for a division in his case. When his public defender first referred him to CVJP, Vernon had none of the requirements he needed and he didn’t know where to begin. The CVJP Social Worker worked with Vernon almost daily to get all of the requirements he needed: connecting him to the VA Mental Health clinic as well as with the Veteran Justice Officer (VJO) at his nearest VA facility. Vernon experienced yet another barrier when the judge in his case requested to see his entire medical record which is not a requirement for diversion. This made Vernon very anxious due to his past trauma history. CVJP educated both the public defender office as well as the judge about the diversion requirements and provided a letter of support explaining Vernon’s complex mental health history which made him an excellent candidate for diversion. Due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, Vernon court’s date has been postponed, but having CVJP’s comprehensive assistance to help him overcome all of the barriers and obstacles that he encountered; his public defender feels confident that diversion will be granted in Vernon’s case.
Mark is an Air Force Veteran with an honorable discharge. When he first came to CVJP
he was homeless, angry, his benefits were interrupted and the LAPD had taken his
legally registered weapons which bothered him daily. Ms. Galvin worked with Mark extensively to help him work on his sobriety, get his benefits in order and get an ID. Later we learned he also had an outstanding DUI warrant charge in Arizona but he was living in California. CVJP not only facilitated getting Mark accepted into the Veteran Treatment Court (VTC) in Arizona but also helped him work out the details so he could meet his stiff mandatory sentence (house arrest) and treatment requirements in California; which required skilled navigation through many legal processes. CVJP supported Mark in enrolling in treatment, both medical and mental health, through his local VA Hospital in West Los Angeles. CVJP was able to successfully help Mark resolve his Arizona DUI without ever leaving LA!
After working with Mark on his legal issue, he also shared that he needed assistance
with obtaining his VA benefits as well as VA housing. CVJP was able to collaborate with
their resource connections and got both accomplished within a year. Mark now has his own apartment in Marina Del Rey. After Mark had a stable income and housing, as well as stable mental health and alcohol recovery, he felt he was in such a good place that he wanted to volunteer with CVJP. Mark shared that he wanted to help other veterans the way CVJP was able to help him by giving back. After successfully completing CVJP
volunteer training, Mark has been one of the best volunteer CVJP workers we have ever
had at the West Los Angles VA Medical Center. He is able to build quick rapport with
his fellow veterans in need and has been able to help countless veterans in his new
role. Mark reports enjoying volunteering with CVJP where he is able to help other veterans like himself.