- August 1, 2022
- Protecting Your Rights, The Justice System
Is there a mental health crisis in Michigan?
In Michigan and across the United States, we often chalk up people’s troubles with the law to their own bad choices. However, there are frequently extenuating circumstances that contribute mightily to their behavior. Specifically, they might have mental health issues that are causing them problems, resulting in interactions with law enforcement. During an arrest, they are mistreated because their mental health issues are unknown. When this is a factor, it could be a key aspect of an effective legal defense.
Michigan may lack facilities
Michigan is taking steps to help those who have mental health concerns with two new projects that will add beds to care for these individuals. The two facilities are planning to open in summer 2023. Despite that, there is a major shortfall in beds and treatment options. People seeking care at state-run facilities may need to wait up to six months. Community facilities are slightly better, but they may still need to wait for around four days. Children also face these health concerns and are impacted by the wait time.
Even after the new facilities are open, authorities expect a lack of available beds. Staffing and insurance for those who need care are also obstacles.
Instead, they might behave in ways that draw the attention of law enforcement, escalate and result in an arrest that did not need to happen. A person might have been causing a disturbance in public, had an encounter with the police and been arrested for it. Their mental illness could have had something to do with it.
Citing mental health could be effective as part of a criminal defense
Crafting an effective defense happens in many ways when dealing with the criminal law system. The case itself could be faulty with an absence of evidence that the person accused committed the legal violations. There might be a viable explanation for what happened and that could help with achieving a positive outcome. Or the defendant might have legitimate and documented mental illness that was not sufficiently treated, making their situation worse. In defending such cases, it is important that your attorney be told about all mental health issues, in part so the proper records can be obtained. An independent psychological evaluation may also be warranted.
Psych defenses, whether insanity, diminished capacity, or mitigation at sentencing are complex and case specific. Such cases require an experienced criminal defense attorney who can navigate the stormy sea ahead.