Kagan for Supreme Court
. . .hard to read []
Requiem for Rene: a suicide lament
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One year after attending the funeral of a defendant who took his own life, Judge Matthew J. D'Emic writes movingly of how he was affected by this young man and of the Brooklyn Mental Health Court, over which he presides. []
New York offers fewer apartments than court orders
Last week New York State proposed aremedial plan to meet a judge's demand for appropriate, supported housing, for 4,300 people living in 28 adult homes. []
Court to New York: stop segregating mentally ill residents
. . .addressing wrongs []
Awards for stories about mental illness
The Association of Health Care Journalists announced five of its annual awards will go to reporters who have written about mental illness. They are: •Mary Carmichael of Newsweek for a story detaiiling how bi-polar disorder dominates the life of one youngster and his parents. •Randy Dotinga, of Voice of San Diego, for a story about the bridge in San Diego which has been used by people intending suicide since 1973. •Sharon Salyer and Alejandro Dominguez, of the Daily Herald in... []
A courtroom miracle: mental health court
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Mental health courts are now recognized as a successful way to direct people into treatment instead of incarceration. For the past six years, Judge Matthew J. D'Emic has presided over the Brooklyn Mental Health Court (New York) with more than 275 graduates. Here he describes how one individual's journey affected him deeply. []
Drug treatment to reduce crime recidivism
The criminal justice system has five gateways for helping offenders with an addictive disorder get treatment. Informed by neuroscience and the biology of addiction and treatment, authors of an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) urge they become opportunities for interventions. Research has shown that chronic drug use alters the brain's circuitry which affects behavior. Treatment upon returning to the community is a key to reducing recidivism, say these authors who are part of the National... []
PTSD doesn't earn Purple Heart, disability
The Pentagon has decided that PTSD is not worthy of a Purple Heart, saying it was not intentionally caused by an "outside force or agent." According to Stars and Stripes, which reported some of the story in May, a military spokesperson explained that the Purple Heart has never been awarded for mental disorders or psychological conditions resulting from witnessing or experiencing traumatic combat events (e.g., combat stress reaction, shell-shock, combat stress fatigue, acute stress disorder, or PTSD). The Purple... []
Eli Lilly settles $62 million case; more pending
Eli Lilly announced a $62 million settlement in 32 states for the marketing of its block buster drug Zyprexa. In the 12 years it has been on the market, the company says it has been prescribed 26 million times. Zyprexa is known to cause weight gain leading to diabetes, heart disease, both of which are associated with early death. Other law suits are still outstanding. Since 2005, according to SEC filings, costs associated with Zyprexa lawsuits, including legal fees, amount... []
Waxman questions pharma influence on FDA
Rep. Henry Waxman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal), chair of the House oversight committee, asked FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to explain how priorities were established which seemed to have tipped from protecting consumers to protecting drug companies. He cites employees for whom the agency has become a revolving door to pharma, asserts the agency protects drug makers instead of the consumers, and asks for clarification about distribution of journal articles and preemptions for medical devices. Waxman's concerns about preemptions... []
Waxman questions pharma influence on FDA
Rep. Henry Waxman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal), chair of the House oversight committee, asked FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to explain how priorities were established which seemed to have tipped from protecting consumers to protecting drug companies. He cites employees for whom the agency has become a revolving door to pharma, asserts the agency protects drug makers instead of the consumers, and asks for clarification about distribution of journal articles and preemptions for medical devices. Waxman's concerns about preemptions... []
Waxman questions pharma influence on FDA
Rep. Henry Waxman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal), chair of the House oversight committee, asked FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to explain how priorities were established which seemed to have tipped from protecting consumers to protecting drug companies. He cites employees for whom the agency has become a revolving door to pharma, asserts the agency protects drug makers instead of the consumers, and asks for clarification about distribution of journal articles and preemptions for medical devices. Waxman's concerns about preemptions... []
Waxman questions pharma influence on FDA
Rep. Henry Waxman Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Cal), chair of the House oversight committee, asked FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to explain how priorities were established which seemed to have tipped from protecting consumers to protecting drug companies. He cites employees for whom the agency has become a revolving door to pharma, asserts the agency protects drug makers instead of the consumers, and asks for clarification about distribution of journal articles and preemptions for medical devices. Waxman's concerns about preemptions... []
Disorders seen in teens in adult system
Psychiatric disorders were diagnosed in two-thirds of a group of youthful offenders from Chicago's Cook County whose crime or age required their transfer to adult courts. A study appearing in Psychiatric Services (n=1,715) noted that "males from ethnic minority groups are among the least likely to receive mental health treatment, either in the community or in prison."... []
Court strikes down Kendra's Law in New Mexico
After the courts struck down an Albuquerque ordinance requiring forced medication for outpatient treatment, the mayor vowed to return this issue to the legislature. According to the Albuquerque Journal the state has cut back on funding for outpatient programs. According to Nancy Koenigsberg from the advocacy organization, Protection and Advocacy, The ordinance that was struck (down) acknowledged that for any kind of treatment to achieve its goal, it must be linked to a system of comprehensive care in which... []
Diversion programs in San Francisco
Informed police intervention and specialty courts for people with a psychiatric diagnosis are now shaping programs in forty California jurisdictions. KQED radio host Michael Krasny dedicated an hour-long program introducing how these innovations aimed to promote treatment and safety work in San Francisco. His four guests included an advocate, a judge, a police officer, and a consumer who teaches them all about his life including his experience with schizophrenia. Police Officer Greg Sancire, a trained psychologist, described training programs where... []
Shifting sex predators into mental health system
Louisiana is considering extending the sentences of sex predators by additional confinement in a mental health facility. At least 17 states had similar laws in 2007, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. ... []
Is schizophrenia incompatible with self-representation?
Last week the Supreme Court handed down a decision that a man with schizophrenia did not have the right to represent himself in court without an attorney. Indiana v. Edwards raises questions about whether the legal standard conferring competence to stand trial differs from competence to represent oneself. The 7-to-2 opinion upheld an Indiana's judge's decision not to allow Ahmed Edwards to conduct his own self-defense. Edwards spent three years in the hospital before he was deemed competent to stand... []
Trial over VA, suicides, rests
A two-week non-jury trial involving a class action law suit over veterans' mental health services has ended in San Francisco. It will now be up to U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti, to decide what, if any, measures to demand of the government. The suit focused on lapses in service, with waits still averaging 30 days, the especially high rates of suicide, and roughly 1,000 suicide attempts each month. Emails indicating top officials knew about the suicide trend, and tried... []
More on pharma influence
More on pharma: tracking prescribing habits of doctors, and the FDA. []
Working with youthful offenders: Crossroads
by Judge Linda Teodosio

Judge Linda Teodosio, Summit County Juvenile Court, describes Crossroads, a unique and intense diversionary probation program for juveniles in Ohio. Since 2003, Crossroads has worked with community collaboration to help youthful offenders get the treatment, and the fresh start, they need. Judge Teodosio's program was recently cited as a model for juvenile justice by the National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice (NCMHJJ).

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Florida calls for end of trans-institutionalization
by Phyllis Vine Picture%201.png


A bold report to Florida's governor recommends sweeping changes to address failures in the criminal justice and mental health system. “Transforming Florida’s Mental Health System" can guide significant reform.

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Schwarzenegger doubts mental health courts
The San Francisco Chronicle reported that California’s Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger cited the cost ($14 million) and the fear that people who commit a crime might go unpunished “because of a mental health issue,” when he when vetoed the expansion of mental health courts. His action ignored evidence of success of court diversion and flies in the face of a national trend. ... []
Q & A with Dr. Andrew P. Levin: The intersection of psychiatry and law
a conversation with Phyllis Vine, editor
In the aftermath of Virginia Tech, a fair number of Monday-morning pundits have weighed in with opinions about how school officials, the police, and psychiatrists should have acted before tragedy hit. To clarify some of the issues about the intersection of law and psychiatry, MIWatch spoke with forensic psychiatrist Dr. Andrew P. Levin. []
Supreme Court decides against death penalty
In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court blocked the execution of a Texas man with schizophrenia who admitted to killing his in-laws. An important element in this closely watched case asked whether Scott Panetti knew the legal consequences of his action. Writing for the majority, Justice Kennedy said, "[g]ross delusions stemming from a severe mental disorder may put an awareness of a link between a crime and its punishment in a context so far removed from reality that the punishment... []

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