Barry Schaller, visiting lecturer in public policy and law at Trinity College, clinical visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School, and retired associate justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court, recently made several radio appearances where he discussed topics closely related to his new book, Veterans on Trial: The Coming Court Battles over PTSD (June 2012, Potomac Books, Inc.).
During appearances on Public Radio International’s The Takeaway on August 1, WNPR’s Where We Live on August 2, and a segment for New England Public Radio on August 17, Schaller detailed the legal consequences of veterans who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) returning from current wars. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, you have prolonged wars with multiple deployments, with everybody being exposed to combat,” Schaller said on The Takeaway. “It brings its own set of factors that produce mental stress at the level when it becomes a disorder.”
In some cases when veterans return state-side, Schaller says that individuals react to everyday scenarios as though they
are still in a war zone and have trouble readjusting to domestic lives that have changed in their absence. This sometimes leads to strained relationships with friends and family, and, sometimes, domestic violence, which is legally considered criminal behavior.
Schaller expects that soon the United States will face conditions much like the late 1970s, when the number of veterans who entered the court system increased significantly in the few years following the Vietnam War. He also anticipates that the number of military veterans using PTSD as a criminal defense will increase, particularly if they do not receive adequate support from the military, medical community, government, and social services.
Learn more about Barry Schaller at his Web site.
On March 6, 2013, Schaller gave a Common Hour talk about Veterans on Trial. Read about it here.