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Monday, June 24, 2024 at 4:06 PM

Veteran’s Court Ordered for Former Serviceman

Veteran’s Court Ordered for Former Serviceman

Last December, Rande Lee Hutchcraft pleaded guilty to a Category D Felony for Failure to Appear after Admission of Bail and to the Category E Felony of Possession of a Controlled Substance (methamphetamine).   

Hutchcraft, who appeared for sentencing in the Tenth Judicial District Court on March 12 before Judge Robert E. Estes, faced potential prison terms of 1-4 years on each count.  

Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills told the court that Hutchcraft was provisionally placed in the Western Regional Drug Court program in December after entering his plea with the court. “He has tested positive virtually the entire time that he has been in Drug Court,” said Mills, who outlined Hutchcraft’s lengthy history of positive drug tests since that time. “It is clear to the state, Your Honor, that this defendant isn’t really interested in treatment because he keeps doing it,” Mills asked the court to return Hutchcraft to District Court for any non-technical probation violations if he is granted probation and officially placed in Drug Court.  

Wright Noel with the Churchill County Public Defender’s Office noted that a first-offense possession charge requires probation by statute and that an Application for Diversion has been filed in both cases. Noel admitted his client’s performance in Drug Court was abysmal, explaining that Hutchcraft was sent on two combat tours in Afghanistan, where he was medically discharged on full service-related retirement. According to Noel, Hutchcraft has had a difficult time trying to reintegrate into society and has been struggling with substance abuse. Noel relayed that Drug Court Judge Deborah Schumacher repeatedly told Hutchcraft, “I’m not sure we have the resources to deal with what you’re going through. I think Veteran’s Court would be a better option.’”   

According to Noel, the Veteran’s Court is set up for people exactly like the defendant, “people who served our country, people who saw combat, people who lost friends, people who struggle with mental health and substance abuse issues after going through the combat experience. And to give them an opportunity to avoid felony convictions on their record and take advantage of some of the treatment options that the Veteran’s Administration has,” said Noel. 

Hutchcraft apologized to the judge and everyone present. He said he went into treatment on his own through the VA for 76 days and is ten months clean, except for marijuana, for which he has a medical card. “Am I drinking? Yeah. ... three beers a week, maybe,” he said, “That’s just to keep the demons at bay.” Hutchcraft said he is trying hard, that he has lost so much in the last year, and he is trying to make a comeback. He now has a vehicle and a fifth wheel to live in and has enrolled in college. “I am trying to make amends for everything I’ve done.”  

On the Possession charge, Judge Estes granted Hutchcraft probation on a sentence of 18-48 months in prison for the possession charge. Estes also ordered him to serve 120 in the Churchill County Jail and will transfer the case to Veteran’s Court upon release. On the FTA, he was granted probation on a consecutive suspended sentence of 18-48 months. Hutchcraft was remanded to the Churchill County Sheriff's custody for sentence imposition.   

Many veterans, like Randy Hutchcraft, face significant challenges reintegrating into civilian life after the military. One of the most pressing issues for many veterans is substance abuse, PTSD, and other mental health conditions. These are often related to the trauma and stress experienced during their service and further compounded by a history of combat tours. Help is available through the Veterans Administration and several other organizations. If you or someone you know is struggling after getting out of the military, contact https://www.va.gov/sierra-nevada-health-care/ or check out 30 Military Veterans Addiction and Mental Health Resources at www.addictions.com/military-veterans-addiction-mental-health-resources

 

 


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