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What Is Your Experience In Defending Mentally Ill People Accused Of Crimes?

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

Because of what happened to me early in my career, during 1990-1991, when I first found out that my caseload had no less than 16 people who I thought were clearly experiencing bipolar disorder and that’s why they were writing worthless checks that led me to really pay attention to this. We are probably the first criminal defense law firm in the world to routinely screen people for mental health disorders related to their criminal charges with an eye towards restorative justice in the form of crime and treatment. So I’ve been doing this type of work with mental health types of defenses and mitigation since 1990. I’ve been doing the brain imaging since 2005.

I’ve been doing it for quite some time. We also have an entire protocol for coping with stress during criminal prosecution, and I have yet to see another law firm put together an entire set of resources to help people when, frankly, they need emotional help the most. This creates a little bit of tension with the profession since virtually every criminal defense lawyer has what’s known as a practice manager to teach you how to make money off of your criminal defense practice, and one of the first things they told me, in fact, all three of the ones I hired and fired, told me, “That crime and treatment stuff, you don’t need to do that. That’s bad for business. What you want to do is build a good base of clients, never tell them anything they don’t want to hear because you have the judge to blame it on then get an appeal. Take every case to trial: that way, you can get a trial fee then an appeal fee. Oh, and by the way, you can’t make a difference anyway, and it’s bad for business.”

That is actually what I was told, and this is why most law firms don’t have programs like Coping with Stress During Criminal Prosecution. This is why most criminal defense firms are not using crime and treatment. In fact, none of them is. Family law is a prime example of where this type of two-pronged attack, Coping with Stress During Criminal Prosecution and crime and treatment, has a crying need for it. Every other day you’re reading about a lawyer getting shot at or even killed, or you’re reading about somebody going through a dissolution of marriage, melting down and killing their children, males and females.

I’ve done this two-pronged approach for much of my entire career, and I’m sitting here over a quarter of a century later extremely disappointed by all the talk in the legal profession about mental health issues and criminal justice reform; but when I look at what my colleagues are doing within their practices, I see some outstanding criminal defense work and, in many cases, decent criminal defense work, but what is most disappointing to me, personally, is I’m not seeing the client and family receiving the mental health support that they need, whether it’s crime and treatment or it’s coping with stress during criminal prosecution. I started doing this very early in my career. It is my mission in life to help people and not just help them beat a particular charge. I mean, I can do that. I’ve won a capital case before, and it’s not like I can’t find my way to the courthouse.

But during these cases, when people are factually guilty, they still need emotional support that they’re not getting from their legal team because somewhere a practice manager told them that it’s bad for business, and they want people coming into the office for handholding sessions. “Oh, and by the way, didn’t you say your cousin had a legal problem? Didn’t you say your aunt was thinking about divorce?” I mean, what should be appropriate client consultations, with the goal being to achieve a specific result in a case, are actually being used as some form of handholding/comfort session that is really all part of the law firm’s marketing routine.

We have marketing routines, just like everybody else, but that’s not one of them. I’ve done this for over 25 years now, and it is absolutely my mission to help people, and I wish more people in my profession would do so. But instead, we’re not finding that. And so we’ll just keep doing it, and hopefully, everyone else will come around sooner or later, and we can solve, collectively, the problem of crime itself, one patient defendant at a time.

What Is The Best Way That People Can Get In Touch With You?

There are two. One is to just give me a call. The easiest way is to just go to my website, www.cobblawfirm.com. And if you Google my name with the word SPECT and Stephen Cobb, you will find several pages of information about what I do and what I’ve done with crime and treatment and SPECT Brain Imaging, in particular.

Disclaimer: This article is in response to questions frequently asked of Mr. Cobb and is an unedited dictation transcript. Just like talk to text on your smartphone, there may be misspelled words or sentence fragments.

For more information on Mentally Ill People Accused Of Crimes, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (850) 466-1522 today.