SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES OF CLIENTS WITH MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES
Attempted Homicide: A young mother tried to kill
herself by driving her van into a freeway barrier. Fortunately her two
young sons in the van were not seriously hurt. The State charged her
with two counts of attempted murder. The client went quickly from the
jail into a state hospital. A psychiatrist doing intake conferred with
counsel. This immediate observation and consultation preserved evidence
of the client's severe mental illness and led to an agreed disposition
of not guilty by reason of insanity. The client was hospitalized and
received mental health treatment. She was released to live with her
family after a few years instead of being imprisoned for many years.
Arson: A young man was charged with setting a fire in the home he
shared with his mother. The client had a long history of severe mental
illness. His mother did not want him to go to prison. I coordinated with
his psychiatrists to determine he was not competent to stand trial. He
was hospitalized instead of prosecuted.
Threats to Kill: Parents retained me to represent their
college-age son wanted in another state for emailing threats to kill.
One visit to the jail revealed the client clearly was psychotic. Using a
psychiatric expert, we persuaded the court to find him incompetent to
extradite. The court sent him to a psychiatric hospital until he
received appropriate medications and became competent.
Shoplifting: A woman "of a certain age" was arrested for
shoplifting. She had never in her life been accused of wrongdoing. She
had raised her children. She had financial resources. She didn't
understand herself why she had stolen something she could have bought. I
referred her to a counselor who diagnosed her with depression, based in
part on her stage of life. She made amends with the victim. We
negotiated a continuance on the condition she work with the counselor
for a period of time, and the case would then be dismissed
SUCCESSFUL EXAMPLES OF CLIENTS WITH DRUG ADDICTION
Forgery/Identity Theft: Parents retained me to represent their adult son
arrested for multiple counts of identity theft and forgery. It soon
became clear the son had a serious drug addiction. We worked over a
period of months to break his denial, to educate the parents, and to
persuade him to enter a drug treatment program. Once we solved the
underlying problem, the prosecutor let the case go with a single count
of forgery and credit for jail time served. Many years later, the client
remains drug-free, healthy, and has had his conviction vacated.
Child Sex Offense: A man retained me to represent his lifelong friend
arrested for child sexual abuse. The client was in jail, clearly
distraught and addicted to drugs. The State had photographic evidence.
We got him transferred from jail into a drug treatment program. We
obtained electronic home monitoring while he lived with a friend. We had
him evaluated by a sex offender treatment professional, who found him
to be an excellent candidate for out-patient treatment. At our request,
and over the prosecutor's objection, the court granted him a Special Sex
Offender Sentencing Alternative: one year in jail and outpatient treatment for five years instead
of 15 or more years in prison. Years later he has successfully completed
treatment and remains clean and sober.
Theft/Identity Theft: A mother retained me to represent her adult
daughter facing multiple state felony charges here after completing a
sentence in federal prison. The client had completed long-term drug
treatment. We persuaded the court to reinstate bail so she could travel
on her own back to the state. Her family paid full restitution to the
victim. The prosecution reduced the multiple felonies to a single
misdemeanor and released the client to return to her home state to live
with her family.