Matthew shares the firm’s commitment to veterans, providing pro bono legal work to support the efforts of the veterans legal clinic developed by Fox Rothschild at the Lyons, New Jersey, VA facility.
He has also been a vocal advocate for robust criminal justice reform programs for veterans. For example, in January 2017, Matthew testified before the New Jersey Assembly Military and Veterans’ Affairs and Appropriations committees, urging state lawmakers to expand the scope of then pending legislation to establish a program in New Jersey to divert eligible service members away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate case management and mental health services. At the hearing, he challenged legislators to expand the scope of the bill to reach a broader swath of the veteran community and take advantage of available federal resources.
Matthew spoke at a January 2017 press conference with lawmakers and veterans advocates on then pending proposed legislation that created a diversion program for veterans, video below:
On May 1, 2017, then New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed legislation sponsored by Sen. Jeff Van Drew (D-1st) to create a “Statewide Veterans Diversion Program” aimed at helping veterans and active military by diverting them away from the criminal justice system and into appropriate case management and mental health services as early as possible following an interaction with law enforcement. In the lead-up to the bill’s passage, Matthew provided a passionate voice behind an even more expansive program than was ultimately signed into law, and authored a widely circulated op-ed piece entitled “ Fierce Urgency of Getting Veterans Diversion Right in New Jersey.”
Since the May 2017 bill signing, Matthew has continued his fight for veterans criminal diversion in New Jersey, participating in a county-by-county effort to create local programs that expand the diversionary goals of the statewide program through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion. The fight to recognize the unique issues our veteran community faces in our criminal justice system rages on, and Matthew is on the front lines of the fight.