How Michigan Veterans Courts are healing heroes facing criminal charges

'Sometimes you have to hit bottom before you can look up.'


(WXYZ) — For as long as he can remember, Matthew Fisher wanted to serve his country. “I didn’t want to sit behind a desk. I wanted to be, essentially, where the action was and try to make a difference,” said Fisher.

In 2007, Fisher enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was sent to Iraq where he trained the Iraqi national police. “It was the longest 14 months you could imagine,” said Fisher. Fisher says one day on patrol, his Humvee got hit.

“It was like being inside of a tornado,” said Fisher. “The enemy had placed roofing nails inside the explosive, so I was hit with all sorts of shrapnel from that.”

After his injuries, Fisher was medically discharged from the Army. When he returned home to Michigan, he says adjusting to civilian life was hard.

Fisher says he went through a divorce, couldn’t work because of his injuries, and got arrested for impaired driving.

“I really didn’t see much of a future for myself. I felt like I was going to succumb to suicide,” said Fisher. But then his case got transferred to something called a Veteran’s Treatment Court. “Judge Khalil, she saved my life,” said Fisher.

“It is saving people’s lives. And it’s an honor to be able to work in this capacity, and do what we’re doing to make a difference,” said Chief Judge Karen Khalil, the presiding judge of the Veterans Court at Redford’s 17th District Court.

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