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Veterans Defense Program
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The Veterans Defense Program (VDP) provides training, support and legal assistance to promote trauma-informed effective representation of veterans and service members in New York States's criminal and family court systems. The first of its kind in the nation, the VDP was launched in response to a growing crisis in the number of veterans with service-related mental health illnesses who were lost in the criminal justice system. 

The Veterans Defense Program is a project of the New York State Defenders Association (NYSDA), a statewide non-profit organization working to improve the quality and scope of publicly supported legal representation for people who cannot afford a lawyer. 

An Invaluable Service for Veterans

The VDP is supported by over 70 veteran, legal, and mental health organizations, including the American Legion; AMVETS; Chief Defenders Association of New York; Disable American Veterans; Marine Corps League; Military order of the Purple Heart; National Alliance for Mental Illness-NYS; NYS Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers; NYS Council of Veterans Organizations; and many more.


(Richard Henry, VDP Case Manager and Sandra Cassidy VDP Staff Attorney)                                                                 (soldier)

What Veterans and their families are saying . . .

"The VDP gave Ron* a second chance. Everyone helped him and I feel so grateful. He would just be so lost if he didn't get this chance that you gave. Attorney Blair Hill was unbelievable. She helped so much. The whole program is wonderful!"

Mother of U.S. Navy Veteran, Shirley, NY


"VDP Directory Gary Horton has been very helpful to our son. He has given us hope for justice and assisted with the needs of our son. Everyone whom I've been in contact with has been very professional in our dealings; even though we know that they are so busy handling their heavy caseloads."

Mother of U.S. Army Veteran, Rome, NY


"I can't wait to get out of prison and pay it forward, and help guys like myself, like the VDP helped me."

U.S. Marine Veteran


  (Gary Horton, VDP Director)                             (Michael White, VDP Case Manager, and his son)

VDP Annual Reports

VDP 2018-2019 Annual Report

VDP 2017 Annual Report 

VDP 2016 Annual Report

2015 VDP Activities Report


Additional Resources

VDP Brochure 2019

NYS Veterans Justice Outreach (VJO) Contact Information

 County Veterans Service Agencies Directory - Veterans Service Officers Association of the State of New York, Inc.




Gary A. Horton, Director

Veterans Defense Program

23 Jackson St.

Batavia, NY 14020



Roy M. Diehl, Deputy Director

Veterans Defense Program

194 Washington Ave.

Suite 500

Albany, NY 12210



Blair Hill, Staff Attorney

Veterans Defense Program

225 Eastview Drive

CL 104

Cental Islip, NY 11722



Sandra Cassidy, Staff Attorney

Veterans Defense Program

23 Jackson St.

Batavia, NY 14020



*Names have been changed for privacy protection, and photos are representative of veterans and VDP assists.

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