Mental Disability Law, Survey of
Students will examine the civil and constitutional bases of mental disability law in such areas as civil commitment; institutional rights (with specific focus on the right to refuse treatment); and deinstitutionalization, aftercare, and federal statutory rights (with specific focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act). Students will explore all aspects of the role of mental disability in the criminal trial process, including criminal incompetencies; insanity defense; federal sentencing guidelines; and the death penalty. Students will also study the meanings of “sanism” and “pretextuality,” the history of mental disability law and why and how it has developed as it has; and most importantly, why judges and fact finders decide mental disability law cases the way they do, to facilitate our predictions of future trends and outcomes.
This is a predominately online course, requiring students to participate in a weekly chat room, a discussion board, and two day-long weekend live seminars at New York Law School. The grade is based on chat room, discussion board and live seminar participation; a take-home midterm exam; and a take-home final exam.
M.A. and certificate students: this is a core requirement which must be taken in the first semester.