Guam - The Justice for Veterans Act of 2013 officially went up for a public hearing today, drawing support from the Judiciary of Guam, the Veterans Affairs Office and the attorney general. Bill 161 would create a veterans court for eligible veterans or active duty service members who come in contact with the criminal justice system on felony or misdemeanor charges.

Presiding Judge Alberto Lamorena noted a committee has already been formed to address issues pertaining to the island's veterans, saying, "The bill could provide the judiciary with the resources necessary to operate a specialty court for justice involved veterans who may be suffering from a mental illness or occurring mental and health substance abuse from a direct result of having served our country."

He adds it is the intention of the court to seek federal funding if necessary to staff this new court. Bill 161 is authored by Senator Frank Aguon and co-sponsored by Vice Speaker B.J. Cruz and Senator Aline Yamashita.