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Monday, November 12, 2012

Bill Written by Veterans Clinic Students Among Those Signed by CT Gov. Malloy in Veterans Day Ceremony at Yale Law School - VIDEO

Too often, upon return from the battlefield or completion of service, Connecticut's veterans suffer from invisible wounds. Too often, those wounds only become visible when those same veterans appear in the back of cop cars or the front of courtrooms. This bill changes that. -Eric Parrie '13

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy held a ceremonial bill signing at Yale Law School on Veterans Day Monday, Nov. 12, signing among several veterans’ bills one in which Yale Law School students played a major role.

Connecticut Pub. Act. No. 12-42 was researched and drafted by students in the Veterans Legal Services Clinic on behalf of the Connecticut Veterans Legal Center, a clinic client. The students fought vigorously and successfully for passage of the bill, traveling weekly to Hartford to meet with legislators, staff, and executive branch officials, and testifying at the public hearing. The new law expands access to existing pre-trial diversionary programs for veterans charged with low-level criminal offenses, helping them obtain treatment and avoid incarceration. It was officially signed by Gov. Malloy on May 31 and took effect on October 1, 2012.

"I'd like to thank the faculty and students of Yale Law School for their advocacy and support of our veterans," said Governor Malloy, who was introduced by Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman. “It is fitting that on the day we celebrate our veterans and their service to the nation, we are also recognizing new laws that will help members of our armed forces and their advocates."

State Rep. Jack Hennessy, co-chair of the Select Committee On Veterans' Affairs, spoke next, saying that without the efforts of the Veterans Clinic students, "a very important bill wouldn't have been passed."

"They figured out a way the bill would save money for the state of Connecticut and help veterans get the services and support they need," said Rep. Hennessy. "Their enthusiasm and dedication for our vets was above and beyond what we normally experience in the legislature."

Also attending the 2 p.m. ceremony in the Law School’s Alumni Reading Room was Dr. Linda Schwartz, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Veterans' Affairs; Yale Law School Dean Robert Post ’77; clinic co-directors Professor Fiona Doherty ’99, Professor Mike Wishnie ’93, and Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Law Margaret Middleton; and clinic students Jon Fougner ’14, Sofia Nelson ’13, and Eric Parrie '13, who worked on the bill.

Yale University Veterans Day observance held on Beinecke Plaza prior to the bill signing included among its participants Yale Law School student Andrew C. Crawford ’13, a Navy veteran.