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The term "specialty dockets" refers to specialized court dockets within the existing structure of Virginia's circuit and district court system offering judicial monitoring of intensive treatment, supervision, and remediation integral to case disposition. The types of court proceedings appropriate for grouping in a "specialty docket" are those which (i) require more than simply the adjudication of discrete legal issues, (ii) present a common dynamic underlying the legally cognizable behavior, (iii) require the coordination of services and treatment to address that underlying dynamic, and (iv) focus primarily on the remediation of the defendant in these dockets. The treatment, the services, and the disposition options are those which are otherwise available under law. The Supreme Court of Virginia currently recognizes only the following three types of specialty dockets: (i) drug treatment court dockets as provided for in the Drug Treatment Court Act, 18.2-254.1, (ii) veterans dockets, and (iii) behavioral/mental health dockets. Drug treatment court dockets offer judicial monitoring of intensive treatment and strict supervision in drug and drug-related cases. Veterans dockets offer eligible defendants who are veterans of the armed services with substance dependency or mental illness a specialized criminal specialty docket that is coordinated with specialized services for veterans. Behavioral/mental health dockets offer defendants with diagnosed behavioral or mental health disorders judicially supervised, community-based treatment plans, which a team of court staff and mental health professionals design and implement. These specialty dockets require authorization by the Supreme Court of Virginia. In addition, standards have been developed for the Veterans Dockets and Behavioral Health Dockets. An application has been developed for localities seeking to create a specialty docket and these dockets are required to participate in training.
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