This course provides a comprehensive look at the basic doctrines fundamental to the understanding of mental disability law. 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 the right to sexual autonomy); and deinstitutionalization, aftercare, and federal statutory rights (with specific focus on the Americans with Disabilities Act). Students will also study 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.
Michael L. Perlin, JD is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS's Online Mental Disability Law Program, and founding director of NYLS's International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. Author of over 30 books and 300 articles on topics including mental illness and the criminal justice system, mental disability law, and sexual violent predator legislation, Professor Perlin has been the recipient of numerous prestigious awards including the American Psychiatric Association and American Academy of Psychiatry and Law’s Manfred Guttmacher Award. Before becoming a professor, Perlin was a Deputy Public Defender in New Jersey as well as the director of the Division of Mental Health Advocacy for the New Jersey Department of the Public Advocate.
Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD is an adjunct professor and the current director of New York Law School’s Online Mental Disability Law Program. In addition to representing individuals facing civil commitment under both the New Jersey Mental Hygiene Law and the New Jersey’s Sexually Violent Predators Act, Professor Cucolo has published and lectured internationally on the representation and treatment of sexual offenders. She is recognized as one of the premiere experts in sexual violent predator law and has counseled attorneys, judges and clinicians on law and procedure in civil commitment proceedings and issues involving persons suffering from a mental disability or illness within the criminal justice system.
This training is designed to help you:
- To explain the essential elements of mental disability law: substantive and procedural, constitutional and statutory
- To enable students to understand the “path” from commitment law to institutional law to community mental health law
- To learn why a patient’s “litigational status” may be the most important question in dealing with such issues as the right to refuse treatment