New York Law School Review Volume: 34 Issue: 1 Dated: (1989) Pages: 19-113,complete issue
This article explores uncertainties in the provision of mental health expert assistance to indigent criminal defendants and proposes improvements in the structure, organization, and administration of such assistance.
The first section summarizes State statutes governing the provision of mental health expert assistance. It highlights the problem of unclear purposes of mental health expert assistance by describing provisions as either related to defense services or mental health examinations ordered by the court as an aid to adjudication or disposition of cases involving mental disorder claims. The next section traces the judicial development of mental health expert assistance in criminal proceedings. It emphasizes issues regarding the delivery of assistance and analyzes selected court rulings. The third section describes and evaluates the structure, organization, and administration of mental health expert assistance provided to indigent criminal defendants in Baltimore, Detroit, and Phoenix. It focuses on various factors that contribute to uncertainties in the delivery of assistance and suggests a number of remedies. Although differences prevail across jurisdictions in how the provision of mental health expert assistance is organized, certain elements are common in all jurisdictions: requests for mental health expert assistance, selection and employment of mental health experts, evaluation of defendants, preparation and distribution of evaluation reports, and review of the process itself. For the most part, forensic mental health programs serving the courts are detached from systems that serve mentally disordered defendants. An appendix lists statutory provisions for mental health expert assistance by State. 501 footnotes and 1 table
Date Published: January 1, 1989