Mental Health Summit, Day 2 Takeaways

TMCEC’s Mental Health Summit, Day 2 continued with the great training today. I want to share with you some more of the important points I took away from today’s sessions.

1. Empathy is Something We’re Generally Not Good With, but It is Powerful and has Its Place in Court.

Dr. Brian Sims of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors led a session on Trauma Informed Care this morning. It was great to hear more about this idea that we caught a glimpse of yesterday with Erin Holmes. One of the takeaways this morning was that empathy is powerful and can solid base for successful trauma informed communication. Dr. Sims used the following video I’d like to share with you:

I also found this slide about things to remember regarding trauma to be particularly useful:

2. With Regards to Competency, Courts do have Guidance

In this morning’s second session, Judges David Newell and Ryan Kellus Turner proved to be the greatest power pop duo since Hall & Oates as they led us through case law and statutes related to competency–and of course they liberally sprinkled in multiple pop culture references to keep us all entertained at the same time. Judge Newell walked us through Dusky v. U.S. and the subsequent codification of the definition of competency:

Ryan Turner, then later,let us know that the Code of Criminal Procedure tells us what to do when we don’t find a statute specifically designed for municipal courts:

We should look for guidance where we can in other general provisions and in the common law. He also advised all municipal judges to read and be familiar with Chapter 46B of the Code of Criminal Procedure, even if it is not squarely applicable.

3. Judges can be Leaders in Managing Cases Involving Mental Illness

Judge Steven Leifman of the Miami-Dade County Court, 11th Judicial Circuit of Florida shared with participants how he has worked to change the treatment of mentally ill offenders over the last 18 years. I have had the opportunity to hear Judge Leifman speak three times now, and each time I am reminded of how passionate he is about mentally ill offenders. He explains that proper treatment does not only help the mentally ill, but it in turn improves public safety, reduces recidivism, and saves money in the long run. To read more about Judge Leifman, click here.

These last two days have provided such a wealth of information. Regan Metteauer of TMCEC did a fantastic job of planning and coordinating the event. If we are able to offer a third Mental Health Summit, we hope you will attend.

Published by markgoodner

General Counsel & Director of Education, TMCEC

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