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February 27, 2015

WSLL Recommends: Mental Disability Law: Civil & Criminal

Mental Disability Law Civil and Criminal (2d ed.) is a 5-volume award winning treatise by prolific author Michael L. Perlin, Professor of Law, Emeritus. This set covers many areas of the law involving mental illness. Virtually every chapter contains a convenient checklist dealing with the chapter's topical considerations of litigation, procedure, and/or statutory provisions.

After a brief discussion of the development and historical context of mental disability law, the first volume focuses on involuntary civil commitments, including the role of counsel and procedural rights. The second volume revolves around institutional rights, from the right to treatment to the right to refuse treatment, and beyond. 

Perlin then moves on to community rights in the third volume. The analysis includes the right to community treatment, deinstitutionalization, and homelessness. There are also chapters on federal statutory rights, state constitutional law, and tort law (focusing on persons with mental disabilities as plaintiffs or "third parties"). 

Volume four is dedicated to criminal incompetency. There are chapters focused on incompetency to stand trial, the insanity defense, sentencing, and the death penalty, as well as the criminal trial process and how it relates to mental disability. The fifth and shortest volume contains unique content. Among references to the first edition of this title, you can find reprinted historical court orders, pleadings, documents, and court forms.

On the whole, the set is a valuable resource for legal practitioners dealing with the various aspects of mental disability law. Each hard bound volume can be individually checked out by eligible borrowers.

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