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Mental Health and the Law |

This course will help students understand how mental illness and psychopathology interface with the legal system, in both the civil and the criminal justice systems. Taught by a practicing lawyer and a board-certified forensic psychiatrist, the course will begin with an overview of approaches to diagnosing and treating mental disorders, a brief discussion of psychotropic medications, and a description of the process for conducting forensic mental examinations of the sort used in court proceedings. We then will survey the many different contexts in which mental health intersects with the law before examining some of those contexts in detail. Specific areas of focus will include risk assessment and civil commitment, the right to treatment, informed consent and the right to refuse treatment, special competency issues involving children and older people, workplace discrimination based on mental illness, and a series of criminal law issues, including competency to stand trial and mental status defenses, sentencing, mental health and the death penalty, the evaluation and incarceration of sexual predators, and mental health issues involving incarcerated persons.

Prerequisites: N/A
Credit Hours: 3
ULW: This course does not satisfy the Upper Level Writing requirement (ULW)


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Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208