Skip to comments.When Green Beret Is Sentenced to Night in Jail, Security Camera Catches Judge Going Into Cell
Posted on 12/18/2016 6:09:05 AM PST by Zakeet
A North Carolina judge sentenced a Green Beret veteran to spend a night in jail. But when he remembered his own story and all he had gone through, he couldn't just let him spend the night alone.
Judge Lou Olivera, a Gulf War veteran, is a district court judge over the Veterans Treatment Court in Cumberland County, North Carolina. He had to sentence Green Beret Joe Serna to one night in jail for a probation violation.
Serna, a recipient of three Purple Hearts, is retired from the military and is having a hard time adjusting back to life after experiencing the battle of war in Afghanistan. Through his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, he turned to alcohol to help him deal with the issues he was having mentally.
This path of destruction soon lead him to the Veterans Treatment Court which helps struggling veterans get back on track. This is where Serna meet Olivera.
"When Joe first came to my court, he was so tight," Olivera says. "His shoulders were so tense. Over time, you could see his shoulders relax."
When Serna lied in court about a urine test, Olivera knew he had to hold him accountable for his actions. He sentenced him to spend the night in jail.
But as Serna entered the jail cell, the painful memories of losing companions began to flood his mind and he felt this would be the longest night of his life. Anxiety gripped him and flashbacks began to play in his mind as the door closed behind him.
Video related to this story.
His scariest moment was when he was riding with three other soldiers along a creek when the road gave way, and the vehicle plunged into the water. The truck started filling with water and "all hope was lost."
Serna was trapped and unable to move, the water rose all the way up to his chin where it finally stopped. He was the only one saved that day. "I was the sole survivor," he recalled with tears in his eyes.
Without telling Serna what he planned to do, Olivera drove him to the jail and asked the jail administrator if he could spend the night with Serna. The administrator had never heard of such a thing.
"Joe was a good soldier and he's a good man," Olivera said. "I wanted him to know I had his back. I didn't want him to do this alone."
As Serna's mind began to go to the dark place of being trapped in the vehicle and losing his buddies, the jail cell door opened and he saw the judge's smiling face. When he came in, I knew everything was going to be okay, recalled Serna.
"I was at peace," he continued. Olivera brought him back to North Carolina when he felt he was trapped back in the truck again.
They spent the night talking about their families, lives, and service. The judge knew Serna needed to face the consequence for his actions, but he also knew he didn't want him to go it alone.
"He is a judge, but that night, he was my battle buddy," Serna said. "He knew what I was going through. As a warrior, he connected."
This judge is a hero! His love and compassion for this veteran should be a reminder to us all to remember our soldiers and shower them with grace and love!
Thank a soldier today! Take the time to be their "battle buddy."
This article is something to show to those poor college snowflakes when they whine about needing play doh, crayons and comfort dogs to cope with the stress of exams and Trump's election ...
Judge sounds like a Right Guy.
God bless them both.
RE “show to those poor college snowflakes”:
This is how MEN behave when facing tough situations. They do what they have to do to improvise, adapt, and overcome.
That judge is a damned fine Man, and a damned fine Human Being as well.
And Green Beret Joe Serna... he’ll be OK. He will readjust, fix the broken pieces and continue on. He needs some help from his community and his family, and he’ll be ok.
THESE are the people we need to help and care for. Less attention to the illegals and more attention to OUR people who truly need assistance.
We need more judges like this.
Shades of the movie Remember the Night!
The judge is a stand up guy.
Cant think of the right words. Incredible act of kindness.
Why is he wearing an airborne maroon beret rather than a SF green beret?
And best of all, PERSONAL integrity. He didn't just chuck the problem over the fence to "them." He took it on himself to do something. All the more admirable ...
Thank you for your Sacrifices and your Service Sgt. 1st Class Serna. You are a Man among Men. Prayers up for you and your loved ones. I don’t have a coloring book either.
There but for the Grace of God......
In the cold face of the Law (which IS necessary), a heartfelt response is always welcome. Bless both these men for their service and their humanity.
That’s the judge.
Didn’t know what to make of the headline, but this was a great Sunday morning story. Even the toughest me have heart. God bless them both.
This is true justice. On any level you care to examine it.
They should get an invite to the Inauguration
I am assuming this soldier’s career and story has been fully vetted.
So many posers out there.
There are a couple things that make me go hmmmmm.
The pic is not of a Green Beret. It is from an airborne unit.
I have never heard of this accident. And I follow those things pretty closely. Date and location not disclosed...
Damn blurry computer screen.
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