Mental Disabilities and Competency CLE

Experts, Ethics and Inexact Science That Will Make Your Head Spin

Friday, August 28, 2020 via Zoom Webinar
6.25 General, 1.0 Ethics CLE Credits

Program Coordinators and Moderators: Ibukun Adepoju, Law Offices of the Public Defender District Defender 9th Judicial District; and Brock Benjamin, Benjamin Law Firm

8:30-10:00 To raise competency or not? That is the question!

When and how to raise competency: signs about your clients to make you question their competency, the step-by-step process of raising the issue before the court, and getting your client evaluated.

Presenter: Julie A. Ball, Law Offices of the Public Defender District Defender 1st Judicial District

10:10-11:10 Changing the Narrative: Reducing Overrepresentation of Individuals with Disabilities in the Criminal Justice System

Especially for older students, trouble at school can lead to their first contact with the criminal justice system. And in many cases, schools themselves are the ones pushing students into the juvenile justice system — often by having students arrested at school

Many youth with disabilities in the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems go through general education with unaddressed academic, behavioral, or mental health needs. How can this disparate treatment be addressed and the youth not pushed into the criminal justice system? For adults, we’ve seen tragic endings to several high profile cases where law enforcements is called because someone is experiencing a mental health crisis. People with disabilities are overrepresented in all interactions with the criminal justice system, and at all points, the system is failing them. What can be done to prevent these tragedies, divert individuals and reduce return to the criminal justice system?

Presenters: Gary Housepian, CEO, and Jesse Clifton, Corrine Wolfe Fellow for Transformative Advocacy, Disability Rights New Mexico

11:15-12:15 Mitigation: Defending Your Client Through Social Work (Ethics/Professionalism) 

Taking a social worker to meet with your client can identify characteristics that might indicate mental health problems and issues. What signs should you look for, how specifically can they assist, and what social workers are out there to help?  What resources should you have for this teamwork and how do you access them?  

Presenters: Megan Leschak, LMSW, Context Mitigation; and and Brock Benjamin

12:15-1:00 LUNCH BREAK

1:00-2:30 Ethical and Effective Use of Your Mental Health Expert

This presentation is aimed at helping attorneys get the most out of their expert psychologist (or neuropsychologist), without compromising the professional relationship and jeopardizing the case. Dr. Kaufman begins with a review of psychological ethics, before transitioning into discussion of the difference between treatment-oriented versus forensic mental health evaluations. The presentation then identifies key forensic referral questions, shares a simple actuarial equation attorneys can use to estimate their client’s IQ, and provides decision rules attorneys can easily follow to identify the most appropriate referral question for their expert psychologist (or neuropsychologist).

Presenters: Noah K. Kaufman, Ph.D., ABN, ABPdN, ABPP, The Center for Neuropsychological Studies; and Ibukun Adepoju


2:35-4:05 Post-Evaluation Hearings

How to proceed after an incompetency finding; specifically, cases that require further hearings such as dangerousness hearings and commitment hearings. Differences between State and Federal law.

Presenters: Kari Converse, Assistant Federal Public Defender; and Robert Work, Mental Health Division, Law Offices of the Public Defender


4:15-5:00 Breakout Groups