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Legal Publications as Advocacy Projects: NAMI-Texas & Texas-Appleseed Jacqueline Shannon, NAMI-Texas Brian D. Shannon, NAMI-Texas, Texas Tech School of.

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Presentation on theme: "Legal Publications as Advocacy Projects: NAMI-Texas & Texas-Appleseed Jacqueline Shannon, NAMI-Texas Brian D. Shannon, NAMI-Texas, Texas Tech School of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Legal Publications as Advocacy Projects: NAMI-Texas & Texas-Appleseed Jacqueline Shannon, NAMI-Texas Brian D. Shannon, NAMI-Texas, Texas Tech School of Law Deborah Fowler, Texas-Appleseed

2 Texas Criminal Procedure & the Offender with Mental Illness: An Analysis & Guide A NAMI-Texas Advocacy Project

3 Navigating the Criminal Justice Maze – Training Lawyers to More Effectively Represent People with Mental Illnesses

4 Meeting the Need Criminal Justice System becoming the new mental health system Families needing information to navigate the maze Developing first informational materials aimed at assisting families Other requests for materials

5 The First Book Idea formed about developing a book Authors agreeing to write if funding found Grant written to the Texas Bar Foundation- funded in 1993 Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness—1 st edition in 1994

6 Outreach Widely distributed free of charge to legislators, county and district court judges, district attorneys, criminal defense attorneys, mental health groups, families, Texas law libraries, and to community mental health centers. High demand for the book resulted in additional printings Grant from Texas Council of Community MHMR Centers funded additional printing.

7 Second Publication Recognition of the dramatic increase of persons with mental illnesses in prisons and jails nd edition of the book reflected the many changes in the laws relating to offenders and alleged offenders with mental illnesses Funded again by grant from the Texas Bar Foundation Web-based version made available

8 Third Edition-The Need 2003-Legislature completely overhauled the state’s criminal competency statute 2003-Texas community MHMR centers required to develop jail diversion plans Other substantial changes in laws dictated need for new edition of book

9 Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness- 3 rd Edition Published- January, 2005 Distributed to Legislators, attorneys, judges, community mental health centers, etc. NAMI Texas website has the full edition:

10 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness Scope of Projects Similar Book on Civil Commitments in Print Dearth of Information About Criminal Process Timing for 1 st ed. Coincided with Diversion Legislation Need for subsequent editions

11 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness Funding Initial Rejection by Hogg Foundation Funding Grant by Texas Bar Foundation Additional Funds from Texas Council for Community MHMR Centers

12 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness Securing Authors NAMI tie-in Law Schools - Faculty - Clinics - Law Journal Project ● Pro Bono Law Firm

13 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness DISTRIBUTION Make it FREE Judges, Prosecutors, Defense Attorneys, Juvenile Justice System State MHMR, Community MHMR Centers, Sheriffs Key Legislators (i.e., ALL of them)

14 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness Why more editions (1999/ )? Continual Need for Education Criminal Justice Issues Are Critical The Legislature Keeps on Meeting The MESSAGE is BEING HEARD

15 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness Recognition

16 NAMI Texas Pens a New Bestseller John Grisham and Scott Turow have nothing on NAMI Texas when it comes to knowing what the public wants. The group’s Texas Criminal Procedure and the Offender with Mental Illness: An Analysis and Guide is so popular that it has been out of stock for months, despite repeated printings. Attorneys, judges, mental health professionals and families who need the manual have settled for an online version because printed copies weren’t available. With a major overhaul to the state’s criminal competency procedure taking effect on January 1, 2004 and requests for the guide growing, NAMI Texas turned to the Texas Bar Foundation for assistance. Twice before – in 1993 and 1999 – the Bar Foundation funded production and distribution. Now, the Texas Bar Foundation has provided $15,000 for an updated third edition.

17 Third Edition – 2005

18 Coverage Intro – An opportunity to educate! Pre-trial Diversion Statutes Criminal Competency Insanity Defense Adults & Juveniles Post-conviction

19 TEXAS CRIMINAL PROCEDURE & The Offender with Mental Illness USE the WEB!!!!

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21 Website Opportunities Links to Related Sites of Interest: NAMI, Texas Bar Foundation, Texas Appleseed Useful Information such as DOJ Reports, Lubbock MOU Links to the Book from Other Sites Further Opportunities to Educate & Advocate on Your Website UPDATES

22 Texas Tech School of Law

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25 Mental Health Attorney & Family Handbooks A Collaborative Approach Addressing a Systemic Problem

26 The Fair Defense Report – December 2000 Sample of 23 Texas Counties with 61% of the State’s population Sample of 23 Texas Counties with 61% of the State’s population Interviewed judges, attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, defendants, court and jail staff. Interviewed judges, attorneys, public defenders, prosecutors, defendants, court and jail staff. Studied 4 categories of criminal cases: Studied 4 categories of criminal cases: Felonies and Class A & B misdemeanors Felonies and Class A & B misdemeanors Capital felonies Capital felonies Cases involving mentally ill defendants Cases involving mentally ill defendants Juvenile delinquency Juvenile delinquency

27 Counties Studied for Mental Health Information Bexar Bexar Dallas Dallas Harris Harris Hidalgo Hidalgo Tarrant Tarrant Travis Travis McLennon McLennon

28 Mental Health Areas Studied Identification of Defendants with Mental Illness Identification of Defendants with Mental Illness Attorney qualifications and training Attorney qualifications and training Competency Determinations Competency Determinations Use of expert witnesses Use of expert witnesses Mitigation and Sentencing Mitigation and Sentencing

29 Mental Health Findings Attorneys, prosecutors and judges generally lacked familiarity with mental disorders and their implications for legal proceedings other than competency hearings. Attorneys, prosecutors and judges generally lacked familiarity with mental disorders and their implications for legal proceedings other than competency hearings. Information collected on a defendant’s mental illness by police, jail staff, or pre-trial programs is seldom passed on to attorneys and judges. Information collected on a defendant’s mental illness by police, jail staff, or pre-trial programs is seldom passed on to attorneys and judges. The pressure of moving cases off the court docket often supersedes efforts to identify a defendant’s mental illness. The pressure of moving cases off the court docket often supersedes efforts to identify a defendant’s mental illness.

30 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) Few attorneys had received any training or have any special qualifications for representing people with mental illness or mental retardation. Few attorneys had received any training or have any special qualifications for representing people with mental illness or mental retardation. Attorneys and judges were unaware of existing laws pertaining to identifying, diverting and treating people with mental illness; counties weren’t complying with State laws. Attorneys and judges were unaware of existing laws pertaining to identifying, diverting and treating people with mental illness; counties weren’t complying with State laws.

31 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) Many attorneys and judges believe that competence evaluations are too time consuming and expensive to do for misdemeanors. Many attorneys and judges believe that competence evaluations are too time consuming and expensive to do for misdemeanors. Only a small number of mental health professionals are being used to conduct competency hearings. Many lack impartiality and independence. Only a small number of mental health professionals are being used to conduct competency hearings. Many lack impartiality and independence.

32 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) Some counties use the same professionals who provide jail treatment to provide consultation and court testimony. Some counties use the same professionals who provide jail treatment to provide consultation and court testimony. Some defendants can cycle back and forth for months or years between jails, courts and state hospitals trying to attain competence to stand trial. Some defendants can cycle back and forth for months or years between jails, courts and state hospitals trying to attain competence to stand trial. Attorneys appear to do little pretrial work, diversion, or work to get people out of jail. Attorneys appear to do little pretrial work, diversion, or work to get people out of jail.

33 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) Some attorneys and judges believe that defendants with mental illness are better off in jail than in the community. Some attorneys and judges believe that defendants with mental illness are better off in jail than in the community. Mental Health Experts are almost never requested or appointed except for competency issues. Mental Health Experts are almost never requested or appointed except for competency issues. Many attorneys need help locating and evaluating mental health experts. Many attorneys need help locating and evaluating mental health experts.

34 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) Few attorneys seem to work to develop mitigation evidence or sentencing alternatives for indigent defendants. Few attorneys seem to work to develop mitigation evidence or sentencing alternatives for indigent defendants. No county had a centralized place to help attorneys locate community programs, treatment, and residential alternatives. No county had a centralized place to help attorneys locate community programs, treatment, and residential alternatives. Inappropriate dispositions are commonly made for defendants with both a mental illness and substance abuse problem. Inappropriate dispositions are commonly made for defendants with both a mental illness and substance abuse problem.

35 Mental Health Findings (cont’d) The fast-paced plea bargain process for misdemeanants may not serve the longer-term interests of the defendant or the community in keeping the person from re-offending. The fast-paced plea bargain process for misdemeanants may not serve the longer-term interests of the defendant or the community in keeping the person from re-offending. Studies show that defendants with mental illness are incarcerated for longer periods than other defendants. Studies show that defendants with mental illness are incarcerated for longer periods than other defendants.

36 Attorney Handbook 1 st Edition published February st Edition published February nd Edition published February nd Edition published February rd Edition will be published fall rd Edition will be published fall Collaboration between Texas Appleseed, Hogg Foundation & Texas Tech University School of Law. Collaboration between Texas Appleseed, Hogg Foundation & Texas Tech University School of Law.

37 Attorney Handbook – Table of Contents Top Ten Things to Keep in Mind As You Represent a Client with Mental Illness. Top Ten Things to Keep in Mind As You Represent a Client with Mental Illness. What is Mental Illness and Why Should You Care? What is Mental Illness and Why Should You Care? The Fair Defense Act The Fair Defense Act The Initial Interview The Initial Interview Helpful Hints to Obtain Information Helpful Hints to Obtain Information Pretrial Options Pretrial Options

38 Table of Contents (cont’d) Competence Evaluations and Hearings Competence Evaluations and Hearings The Insanity Defense The Insanity Defense Use of Expert Mental Health Witnesses, Mitigation, and Sentencing Strategies Use of Expert Mental Health Witnesses, Mitigation, and Sentencing Strategies Recent Developments Recent Developments Glossary of Common Mental Health Terms Glossary of Common Mental Health Terms Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications Commonly Prescribed Psychotropic Medications Resources for Help Resources for Help

39 Family Handbook Same publishing schedule. Same publishing schedule. Designed to answer FAQ raised by family members & defendants with mental illness. Designed to answer FAQ raised by family members & defendants with mental illness.

40 Information Includes A section specifically for defendants, outlining: A section specifically for defendants, outlining: Information about jail interviews with police and others Information about jail interviews with police and others How to get/choose a lawyer How to get/choose a lawyer What you should be able to expect from your lawyer What you should be able to expect from your lawyer What you should tell your lawyer What you should tell your lawyer Information about court processes Information about court processes Information about pleading guilty Information about pleading guilty

41 Information Includes A section for families, outlining: A section for families, outlining: How to make sure your family member is getting medicine in jail How to make sure your family member is getting medicine in jail Hiring a lawyer Hiring a lawyer Court fees/fines Court fees/fines What to expect from the lawyer representing your family member What to expect from the lawyer representing your family member Testifying Testifying What you can do to help your family member What you can do to help your family member

42 Spanish Edition of Family Book Same publication schedule. Same publication schedule. Translation of family handbook to assist those whose first language is Spanish. Translation of family handbook to assist those whose first language is Spanish.


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