Marco Vizcaino served parts of two years in Iraq. A new court created in Will County can help him avoid doing up to three years in prison on a drug charge.
"All the things are coming together here like a perfect storm," State's Attorney James Glasgow said as he submitted a petition to Judge Carla Alessio Policandriotes to establish a specialized veterans and servicemembers court in Will County.
Policandriotes approved the petition and accepted Vizcaino as its fist applicant.
Vizcaino, 31, was up on a class 4 felony drug charge. He also has a case in DuPage County for the alleged "attempt to foil or defeat (a) screen test by spiking or substitution."
Glasgow said he would be in touch with the DuPage County state's attorney to see if the veteran's court can take care of that case as well.
"I think we can strive to the point where Marco can walk out of here without a felony conviction," he said.
That would be a good break for the Naperville resident, who served 9 years in the Army, reaching the rank of sergeant. Vizcaino was in Iraq in 2007 and 2008.
The veterans and service members court, which was announced Wednesday by Policandriotes, Glasgow and Chief Judge Gerald Kinney, was designed to provide critical treatment, counseling and assistance to local veterans and servicemembers who have struggled with mental health and substance abuse disorders since returning home from military operations.
“We enjoy extraordinary freedoms because of heroic sacrifices by veterans and servicemembers from all branches of our Armed Forces,” Glasgow said. “Thousands of veterans are returning home today suffering from substance abuse problems or mental health disorders, including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or depression. When they come in contact with the criminal justice system, we have an obligation to acknowledge their service and provide them with the treatment and counseling necessary for them to regain their lives.”
Only veterans with honorable or general discharges, or current members of the military, are eligible for the program.
“While presiding over Drug Court over the past six years, I have handled many cases in which veterans who bravely served our country would benefit from specialized counseling and treatment to address their very specific needs," Judge Policandriotes said. "Our Veterans and Servicemembers Court will address their concerns by working in partnership with a variety of federal and state agencies that specialize in veterans affairs.”