Courts Agrees to Release Veteran with Crohn’s Disease to VA Hospital

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By Maia Surendra

SANTA BARBARA, CA – Dennis Anthony Weldon—who said he was “not complaining”—asked and received permission from Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Pauline Maxwell this past week to enter medical care at a Veterans Affairs hospital because of Weldon’s illness.

Weldon shared he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a while ago, and did not do the treatment last year. Weldon stated that he’s “not complaining,” but that the jail food has led to his Crohn’s disease becoming full blown, and he said he needed to be in a hospital.

Weldon’s attorney, Public Defender Richard Steele, II, requested that Weldon be immediately moved to a VA hospital and out of jail, arguing Weldon should have been released sooner, but there was an issue with the paperwork at probation, which delayed his release.

PD Steele said he was “asking again” if Weldon could be permitted to be put on bed availability at the VA hospital before his next hearing because of immediate health concerns, admitting requests to move Weldon to a VA hospital had been denied in the past.

PD Steele also discussed releasing Weldon to the VA Domiciliary, which is on the same campus as the hospital. Weldon added the Domiciliary agreed to put Weldon on a mental health track rather than a drug and alcohol track.

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Mossembekker said that the People were concerned about his release due to his past criminal history.

However, Judge Maxwell expressed that Weldon has serious medical issues, and should be allowed to go to the VA hospital.

Weldon appeared on both felony and misdemeanor charges, including resisting the peace and executive officers, threatening a crime, concealing a weapon, battery, driving under the influence, unsafe driving, and possession of marijuana by a driver.

Weldon will appear next week in court, and Judge Maxwell said when he appears it will hopefully be from a hospital. At the end of the hearing, Weldon said to Judge Maxwell that hopefully a year down the line the judge would be able to say she was proud of him. Judge Maxwell agreed.

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About The Author

Maia Surendra is a fourth year student at UC Santa Barbara who is majoring in Sociology and minoring in History. She is originally from Westchester County, NY, and would love to do something related to the law after graduation.

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