Defense of Persons with Mental Illness

Free Consultation 24/7 800-258-1972. Aggressive Michigan Criminal Defense for Persons with Mental Illness. Offices Located Throughout Michigan. Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Kalamazoo, Benton Harbor, Ann Arbor, Saginaw, Flint, Traverse City, Muskegon, Holland, Mt Pleasant, Port Huron, Jackson, Gaylord. We Defend Persons With Mental Illness throughout Michigan.

Mental illness is not a crime, but you would never know it from the way American society treats people who have it. In 1950, about half of the people institutionalized for either crime, mental illness, or both lived in mental hospitals. In 2000, 97 percent of such people lived in prisons. Over the last 30 years, we have moved from hospitalization for mental conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder to community-based treatment. Unfortunately, there has never been anything near the funding necessary to support outpatient treatment of mental illnesses for many people who need it, so we now have somewhere between 300,000 and 800,000 Americans with diagnosed mental disorders in prison or jail. To put this figure in perspective, only twenty years ago the total U.S. prison population was under 1,000,000.

At the State Street Law, we have a longstanding interest and professional commitment to criminal defense client service for persons with mental illness. Our resourcefulness in identifying sentencing and treatment options, as well as in educating prosecutors, judges, and juries about the effect of mental illness on a person's ability to manage his or her own behavior, has led in many cases to favorable outcomes at trial and in sentencing. Our attorneys have even obtained the rare verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity in a homicide case.

Our criminal defense lawyers know that persons with untreated mental illness have an elevated likelihood to commit serious crimes such as murder, arson, destruction of property, or sexual assault. We also understand that many minor crimes charged against persons with mental illness or disabilities such as mental retardation are more severely punished than they are for others. This reflects the fact that many such persons are repeat offenders exposed to greater penalties, and also reflects the lack of sympathy they often generate in a sentencing judge unless represented by an attorney knowledgeable about mental disorders.

We work with mental health experts from the very earliest stages of a criminal case to develop and present information about specific diagnoses, treatment options, medication alternatives, and other facts that can divert the criminal proceeding to a path that will result in effective treatment of the defendant's condition, whether it involves manic depression, schizophrenia, or a developmental disorder. Our advocacy on behalf of persons with mental illness can significantly improve the prospect of a favorable outcome in a criminal case.

For additional information about our ability to represent the interests of persons with mental illness in a criminal proceeding, contact State Street Law for a free consultation.