From yesterday’s New York Times.

March 15, 2010
Defendants Fresh From War Find Service Counts in Court

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Judge Robert C. Chambers handed down Timothy Oldani’s federal sentence for selling stolen military equipment on eBay, he gave the former Marine a break.

In Iraq, Mr. Oldani had performed the jangling work of detonating improvised explosive devices and had seen six of his fellow Marines burned alive in an armored vehicle. He left the service with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress syndrome that, the judge concluded, had clouded his judgment. Under federal sentencing guidelines, the prison term could have been nearly five years; Judge Chambers decided on just five months, with three years of supervised release and treatment.

Many veterans like Mr. Oldani have returned from Afghanistan and Iraq burdened by post-traumatic stress, drug dependency and other problems. As veterans find themselves skirmishing with the law, judges are increasingly finding ways to provide them with a measure of leniency.

Read the whole piece here.