While there are some judges who merely slam the gavel down and go about their business, there are some who are more than willing to go the extra mile and they deserve to be commended. Judge Lou Oliveria is one of these special judges and when he heard about an Army veteran who was recently sentenced to a night in prison, he sprung into action immediately.
Joe Serna was slated to spend a night in jail due to crimes he committed because of his struggles with post traumatic stress disorder. However, Judge Joe decided that he would not have to spend the night by himself. Anyone who completed three tours in Afghanistan and received two purple hearts as a result of their brave actions is definitely worthy of such a gesture.
Not only did Joe survive an attack from a suicide bomber, but he also survived an IED blast. As a result of his experiences, he’s become quite wary of small spaces and understandably so. He was charged with some minor traffic related offenses, but the incident that landed him in the slammer had to with his inability to avoid driving under the influence.
The court that was responsible for Joe’s sentencing prides themselves on offering the necessary assistance whenever they can. They requested that Joe remain sober and asked him to check back in with them every two weeks. After he failed a urine test and admitted that he had fallen off the wagon again, the judge sentenced him to a night in jail.
Judge Joe could relate to what Serna was going through, since he had served in the Gulf War. The judge realized that Joe was struggling with the experience and he saw that the veteran was noticeably trembling. That’s when he knew that he would need to spend the night alongside of him to assuage his fears. Most judges would not have done something this selfless on behalf of a person in their court, but Judge Joe is not most judges.
Sometimes, a person just needs a little bit of compassion to get them through a tough time. We hope that this was the wake up call Serna needed. Once the sentence was completed, the two men shared a warm embrace and Serna promised the kind judge that this would be the last time he would see him in his courtroom. Please share this awesome story with your closest friends and loved ones.