Compassionate judge spends night in jail

Cumberland County, NC (WRAL) A North Carolina judge’s act of compassion has a former Fort Bragg soldier promising to get his life back on track.

Veteran Joseph Serna was sentenced to spend one night in jail for a probation violation. Serna is a former Special Forces soldier who has been deployed four times. Since his retirement, he has used alcohol to fight battlefield demons.

"I’ve lost a lot of friends and I take my bumps as well and I didn’t want to talk about it," said Serna.

Serna’s fight to get sober landed him in Cumberland County’s Veterans Treatment Court, which is run by District Court Judge Lou Olivera.

Serna has appeared before Olivera 25 times while going through the treatment program. Serna said last week, he didn’t tell the truth about his urinalysis test, and Olivera ordered him to spend 24-hours behind bars.

Olivera drove Serna to the jail in Robeson County. The cell door closed and Serna sat on the cot. He said the door rattled, then opened, and he was shocked at what happened next.

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