Mental Health Issues and Anger: A Defense Lawyer | Attorney’s Prospective.
When criminal charges involving domestic violence or disturbances are compounded by mental health or illness, legal cases quickly become complicated and families feel lost. These situations are not hopeless but they are not for the every criminal defense lawyer | attorney. These kinds of cases tend to consume a lot of time and energy and your legal team must be experienced and willing to work tirelessly. This office has dealt extensively with criminal charges involving mental health, mental illness, developmental problems and genetic problems. We are experienced in the process of collecting and reviewing medical records, developing plans and assembling the experts necessary to deal with the kind of issues these cases raise, while remaining aware of the stress these kinds of cases put on our clients and their families.
Mental Health Cases involving Any Violence Are the Criminal Court’s Problem?
In the 1980’s, the federal government cut funding for local, decentralized mental health treatment. As a result of this and subsequent cuts, Washington State now runs only three dedicated psychiatric hospitals, one for children and two for adults. Western State Hospital is the regional state psychiatric hospital for the 20 western Washington Counties. Eastern State Hospital is regional state psychiatric hospital for the 20 eastern Washington counties. The Child Study and Treatment Center is the only state psychiatric hospital for children ages 5-17 whose mental health or illness cannot be served in less restrictive settings. Accessing treatment at these agencies is difficult at best and is only further complicated for criminal defense lawyers | attorneys and their clients because of policies surrounding violence, outbursts or criminal disturbances. These same policies affect our clients’ eligibility for the localized mental health courts that each county and some cities have implemented. We have had problems because this mental health court screens out “violent” defendants, even if there is no record or pattern of outbursts.
Without localized treatment and facilities, the ability to handle problems has been shifted to emergency rooms and to some degree, DSHS and the court system. If there is any acting out or allegations of violence, the offending party does not end up in the care of local, decentralized facilities with knowledgeable familiar staff, they end up in jail. Unfortunately, even an isolated incident in an otherwise well managed situation is treated in this manner. Our laws have become increasingly inflexible, though there is hope if your lawyer is a competent bulldog who knows how to work with the assigned prosecutor to achieve a fair result. Lawyers involved in these kinds of criminal cases must be experienced, level headed, tenacious and patient to get results.
The criminal defense lawyers in our office have handled an enormous number of complicated problems in the civil and criminal forum over the course of their lengthy careers in criminal law. We are a unique blend of courtroom experience, skills, knowledge and temperament. Our lawyers know criminal cases are rarely as simple as the police reports claim and our clients hire us because they want staunch and effective counsel who will make sure their rights are protected. Whether our role is legal counsel, negotiator, or litigator, we have years of experience fighting and resolving these kinds of cases with our clients’ best interest in mind.