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CRIMINAL JUSTICE FALL 2007 Volume 22, Number 3
Symposium Issue: Mental Health and Criminal Justice System
By Andrew E. Taslitz
Prof. Taslitz, special issue editor, introduces the magazine’s symposium topic on mental illness and the justice system, including highlights of each article.
By Christopher Slobogin
For decades the subject of mental illness and criminal law languished in the legal “backwaters” at the U.S. Supreme Court. That changed in 2003 when the Court accepted the case of Sell v. United States (a defendant’s right to refuse medication), followed quickly by two more seminal decisions in Clark v. Arizona (2006) (the scope of psychiatric defenses) and Panetti v. Quarterman (2007) (the definition of competency to be executed). But has this sudden interest in mental illness issues resulted in good law? The author argues to the contrary and details where and how the Court has erred.
By Gerald E. Nora
Traditionally, prosecutors approach claims of mental impairment by criminal defendants with skepticism, contesting competency defenses and sentencing mitigation. More recently, though, they find themselves as “diversionary gatekeepers”— seeking alternatives to trials and prison for those who more aptly belong in the medical arena. The author, a Cook County ( Illinois) state’s attorney, finds neither role satisfactory and argues for reforms that will limit a prosecutor’s responsibility for addressing a defendant’s mental health needs through the justice system.
By Matthew J. D’Emic
Judge D’Emic tracks the establishment of one of the country’s first courts to use diversionary treatment in dealing with mentally ill criminal defendants. He maps the defendant’s journey from intake through assessment and treatment to “graduation” from the program.
By Michael Mello
An opponent of the death penalty, Prof. Mello presents this personal account of advocating for mentally ill death row inmates. While detailing his clients’ descent into madness and the tortured disconnect between the fantasy world of the insane and a justice system bent on accountability, the author looks at the impact of three high-profile cases.
By William C. Follette, Deborah Davis, and Richard A. Leo
The authors offers a psychological explanation of how police interrogation methods affect the “average” person’s ability to understand and exert his or her Miranda rights and what makes the mentally ill so much more susceptible to police coercion and likely to falsely confess.
Criminal Justice magazine, published quarterly by the Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association, is intended for a national audience of defense lawyers, prosecutors, judges, academics, and other criminal justice professionals with a focus on the practice and policy issues of the criminal justice system. Each issue includes feature articles, as well as regular columns. In addition, there are occasional thematic issues which focus on one particular aspect of the criminal justice system.
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