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Case dismissed: Veterans emerge from Treatment Court ready for new start

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50 court appearances in 19 months? That sounds like a hardened criminal.

But when those appearances are in Veterans Treatment Court, they let former service members show the Ramsey County judge who sentenced them how much progress they're making on the road to recovery.

The County created the court two years ago to acknowledge that veterans face a special set of hurdles to overcome as they readjust to civilian life.

The first veteran referred to the court had the charges against him dropped Thursday, as he and three others became the first to be released in Ramsey County.

KSTP reports that Charles King told Judge Judith Tilsen: "Thank you for giving me the chance to give myself a chance."

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WCCO says when King was referred to Veterans Treatment Court, he faced severe mental health problems and could have been sentenced to a year behind bars for his domestic abuse and disorderly conduct convictions.

But mentoring from a fellow veteran King on his road to recovery, which passed a key milestone Thursday.

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Thinking back to his first appearance before Judge Tilsen, King said he was "...truly lost in a very, very dark place," KARE 11 reports.

The 19 months since then have clearly been arduous. "Marine Corps boot camp was nothing compared to this," one mentor told WCCO.

Now King will move on to a new set of challenges as he works on rebuilding his life. "It’s going to be an ongoing battle, but now I know how I need to face it,” he told the station.

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