Mental Health Litigation Team
The Mental Health Litigation Team utilizes civil procedures to commit individuals involuntarily who have completed their maximum prison sentences or hospital commitments but remain a danger to society and who meet the statutory definition of Sexual Violent Predators (SVPs), Mentally Disordered Offenders (MDO), offenders formerly found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity (NGI), and Extended Commitments.
Commitments are generally of one- or two-year durations, and are for the purpose of treatment, not punishment.
Although the process is civil in nature, criminal procedural safeguards are mandated to protect the civil liberties of the individual. To secure a commitment, the District Attorney is required to convince a unanimous jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the individual meets all the elements of the statutory class, has a mental disorder and that, as a result of such mental disorder, is a danger to society.
This caseload is expected to grow significantly in the coming years, due, in part, to the growth of mental health-related disorders occasioned by adult drug abuse and fetal drug and alcohol syndrome births.