Real World Judicial Compassion

Think what you want, but there are still good guys at every level, you just have to find them. If you’re gonna post all the Damned negative, by God you better post the little bit of positive that leaks out.


HT/ Wirecutter:

A North Carolina judge sent a retired Special Forces sergeant to jail for violating probation — then spent the night in the cell with him.

News media outlets report Joe Serna, 41, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after three tours in Afghanistan, was diverted to Cumberland County Veterans Court after being charged with driving under the influence and other traffic offenses.

The court is designed to help troubled veterans avoid jail time and get the help they need. Serna was told to stay sober and return to the court every two weeks.

But when he appeared before Judge Lou Olivera, a Gulf War veteran, on April 12, Serna said he admitted that he had lied to the court and that his last urinalysis had been positive.

Olivera sentenced him to a night in jail and the next day drove him to nearby Lumberton to serve the time.

“When Joe first came to turn himself in, he was trembling,” Olivera said. “I decided that I’d spend the night serving with him.”

Serna said he was touched by the judge’s action.

“They take me to the cell, and I’m sitting on my bunk. And, then, in walks the judge,” he said. “I knew this was a very compassionate man.”

He said the two spent the night talking about their military experiences.

“It was more of a father-son conversation as opposed to a judge talking to someone and sentencing them. It was personal,” Serna said.

Olivera said he hopes the experience helps Serna.

“They have worn the uniform and we know they can be contributing members of society. We just want to get them back there,” the judge said.



American by BIRTH, Infidel by CHOICE


5 thoughts on “Real World Judicial Compassion

  1. Unfortunately too rare in our so called justice system but kudos to this judge,actually trying to change things for the better.

    The prison/cop/court cartels for most part are insanity,we jail more folks per capita then any other country.I need to relook up but the prison industry in a southern state recently called for more misdemeanour’s to be reset as felonies as the folks in system do not have enuff prisoners to keep em all employed.

    We call our justice system the fairest in the world,if true,the world is really screwed.

  2. Good story. You’re right. Despite the system there are still some decent people in it.

    But a point that should be made here… Soldiers need to talk out their problems with other soldiers. Whoever thought up the idea of a Veterans Court knew what they were doing.

    A brief whiff of sanity.


    • Steven,I agree with that completely,there are a lot of groups set up for just that and also a lot of informal groups for vets,have in past steered a friend to a few,those that need one or have a friend that needs one net will do or go to the VA and talk to some of the patients there,was what I did for buddy before net was go to option for info.My mum then was a doc at VA but feel even if I went there with no contacts folks would have helped,got some names and a phone # without any hesitation on vets part.

      I have a friend who did tours in Afghan(too many) and he has a monthly group of folks that get together to talk but also hike/fish ect.,usually a overnight thing at his place in country,when he found out I lost me dad and 8 friends in space of a year wanted me to come up,said no as not a vet.He talked to folks at next gathering and all said I was more then welcome,a offer will soon take up as gig I am on soon ending and plan on being that way anyhow as will be going into north east kingdom for a week to get me own head together.

      I will say me buddy I and many friends/family/VA and strangers helped out is doing pretty well now,was a long and still may be challenging road for him but hear from him every 6 months or so and he seems happy/working/enjoying life,tis things like this that make it worth getting out of bed in the morning.

      This country needs more folks like judge in story,I hope for all our sake they are out there.

  3. I hope that judge suggested that the SGT go to AA, get a sponsor, work the Steps, and carry the message. AA has helped a lot of vets to quit drinking 24 hours at a time.

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