Mental Disability and Criminal Law
This course explores in depth the relationship between mental disability and the criminal trial process. Topics include all aspects of the criminal incompetency status (including trial, plea, counsel waiver and other pre-trial, trial and post-trial stages); the insanity defense; institutionalization and release policies that govern the cases of persons found permanently incompetent to stand trial and those found not guilty by reason of insanity; the right of forensic patients to refuse antipsychotic medications; the role of mental disability evidence in other aspects of criminal trial and pre-trial proceedings (including confessions and privilege against self-incrimination matters); sentencing, the death penalty (including issues involving mitigation, predictions of future dangerousness, executability of persons with mental retardation, and competency to be executed); and the effectiveness of counsel in cases involving defendants with mental disabilities. Class lecture videos include a simulated trial of a case involving a criminal defendant with a mental disability. The grade is based on a take-home midterm exam and a take-home final exam.
This upper-level substantive course explores the relationship between mental disability and the criminal trial process.
Recommended for the following Professional Pathways: Civil Rights/Civil Liberties; Criminal Defense; Criminal Prosecution; General Practice – Litigation/Dispute Resolution