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Criminal Law and Procedure

Law and Psychology

Series

2005

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris Jun 2005

Pursuing Justice For The Mentally Disabled, Grant H. Morris

University of San Diego Public Law and Legal Theory Research Paper Series

This article considers whether lawyers act as zealous advocates when they represent mentally disordered, involuntarily committed patients who wish to assert their right to refuse treatment with psychotropic medication. After discussing a study that clearly demonstrates that lawyers do not do so, the article explores the reasons for this inappropriate behavior. Michael Perlin characterizes the problem as “sanism,” which he describes as an irrational prejudice against mentally disabled persons of the same quality and character as other irrational prejudices that cause and are reflected in prevailing social attitudes of racism, sexism, homophobia, and ethnic bigotry. The article critiques Perlin’s characterization …