Hennepin County District Court is proud to be participating in this year's Veteran's StandDown event planned for August 16 at Target Field!
StandDown refers to a grassroots, community-based intervention program designed to help the nation’s estimated 200,000 homeless veterans “combat” life on the streets. Homeless veterans are brought together in a single location for one to three days and are provided access to the community resources needed to begin addressing their individual problems and rebuilding their lives.
The Twin Cities Metro StandDown event is one of the nation’s largest, serving close to 600 veterans in 2018. Veterans are provided with a broad range of necessities including food, clothing, medical, legal and mental health assistance, job counseling and referral, and most importantly, companionship and camaraderie. It is a time for the community to connect with the homeless veteran population, providing them a hand up – not a handout.
The criminal court component of the StandDown legal clinic addresses low-level criminal charges, unpaid fines, and active warrants. It is presided over by judges granted special statewide jurisdiction. Veterans are assigned a volunteer attorney who assesses their case then works to negotiate a plea agreement with the relevant prosecutor. Warrants may be quashed and pending cases may be resolved. In 2018, the criminal court clinic assisted many veterans to resolve their cases and citations.
The StandDown criminal court cannot handle any felony charges, domestic violence offenses, or DWI’s. The vast majority of cases resolved are traffic offenses, clearing the way for the veteran to regain their driver’s license, often the key to obtaining gainful employment and housing.