Judge Ends Up In The Same Cell With The Veteran He Put Away

This is a heartwarming story just in time for Christmas that I hope will inspire you. A North Carolina judge made headlines over the weekend for his time spent in jail. Not because the judge committed a crime, but because he felt compelled to keep a man he sent to jail company while he worked through his problems.

Judge Lou Olivera served his country in the Gulf War which is where his special interest in Joe Serna, and veteran who served in Afghanistan, all began. Serna suffers from PTSD and has a history of self-medicating. He was originally sentenced to probation after getting a DUI.

Part of the terms of Serna’s probation is that he could not drink and had to submit to urine tests. During his last test, he lied and claimed that he had not been drinking. Of course, he failed the test and found himself back in found and in front of judge Olivera.

The judge knew about Serna’s time in Afghanistan and his many brushes with death. He knew that Serna was once trapped in a vehicle as it sank, killing his brother in arms.

“I knew what Joe was going through and I knew Joe’s history,” Judge Olivera told CBS Evening News. “I knew he had to be held accountable, but I just knew…I had to go with him.”

It had just been a few minutes of Serna sitting in his jail cell before Judge Olivera surprised him with a loaf of homemade meatloaf and a change of clothes, accompanying him through the remainder of the night.

Serna said that when he first entered the cell he felt the walls closing in on him. The small confines of the cell instantly sent him back to being trapped in the vehicle in Afghanistan.

Serna said that once Judge Olivera came, “the walls were no longer there” as the two men talked about their families and their lives.

“He took me back to North Carolina,” Serna said. “He took me from a truck in Afghanistan back to North Carolina.”
After the night was over, Serna promised Judge Olivera that this would be the last incident that brought him back to court.

“He is a judge, but that night, he was my battle buddy,” Serna told People magazine. “He knew what I was going through. As a warrior, he connected.”

Serna had gone into battles repeatedly, and with each deployment brought equal amounts of pain and glory.
“I lost so many friends,” Serna recalled. “I was medevaced [medically evacuated] after some guy dropped a grenade on me. In the process, I lost a bunch of guys right next to me.”


These are the kind of stories I love to see, and I hope you do too. Sadly, they never make the mainstream media because they inspire empathy instead of hate. Compassion, instead of outrage—Basically, everything the MSM despises.

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