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Mental Disability Issues in the Criminal Justice System: What They Are, Who Evaluates Them, How and When

NCJ Number
Harlow M. Huckabee J.D.
Date Published
155 pages
This handbook guides non-lawyers in how to handle mental disability issues in criminal justice systems.
The first chapter identifies the mental disability issues. These include the insanity defense, the defense of diminished capacity, the verdict of guilty but mentally ill, competency to stand trial, and violence prediction. The second chapter examines who evaluates the issues, namely, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors, defense attorneys, juries, and judges. The third chapter explains how mental disability issues are evaluated. This includes discussions on "shopping for experts" (psychiatrists or psychologists), the development of lay evidence, the development of mental disability history, and briefing the experts before they render opinions. The latter discussion focuses on lay evidence, mental disability history, facts and circumstances involved in the crime, the crime charged (legal elements, including intent), insanity defense and any diminished-capacity concept in the jurisdiction, the legal definition of guilty but mentally ill, and the legal definition of competency to stand trial. The concluding chapter addresses when the issues are evaluated. The decision making points in case processing are pre-indictment, pretrial preparation, the trial, post-trial, and the preparation of appeals. Appended significant court cases and a subject index