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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22886
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 13, 2017 11:48 AM
From: Representative Carol Hill-Evans
To: All House members
Subject: Post-Conviction Review for Veterans with PTSD or TBI (Re-Introduction)
 
In the near future, I will re-introduce legislation – former House Bill 2406 of the 2015-2016 Legislative Session – that would allow inappropriately sentenced veterans with the ability to apply for post-conviction review of their sentence. Eligible veterans would include those suffering from PTSD or TBI incurred while serving their country in a combat zone.

My bill proposes to establish a process for post-conviction relief for veterans incurring PTSD or TBI while serving their country in the military. Currently, a veteran may present these as mitigating factors during the sentencing for a crime. This bill would allow incarcerated veterans diagnosed after imprisonment to apply to the court for relief putting forward their diagnosis of PTSD or TBI as a mitigating factor in the crime for which they were charged. According to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund:
  • Approximately 58,000 Americans died in Vietnam;
  • Over 150,000 have committed suicide since the war ended;
  • 500,000 Vietnam veterans have been arrested or incarcerated, with an estimated 100,000 in prison today; and
  • 40% of Vietnam veterans are unemployed and another 25% earn less than $7,000 per year.

My bill would allow a person convicted of a criminal offense for crimes where TBI or PTSD are alleged to be contributing factors to apply for post-conviction review related to the investigation or prosecution that resulted in the judgment of conviction by making a written motion to the sentencing court for review of the case. I think that we owe it to those veterans serving an inappropriate sentence the opportunity to have a post-conviction review of their case and the ability to enter into evidence their diagnosis of PTSD or TBI as a mitigating circumstance and to have the charges reviewed by the court. As PTSD was not a recognized mental illness until 1980, and research concerning TBIs is in its infancy, we especially owe those vets this opportunity.

Please join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation.