Criminal Justice

Circuit court casts doubt on mental illness, firearm prohibition

Wednesday, September 28, 2016Clifford Tyler was briefly involuntarily committed in 1985, following a bout of severe depression arising from an emotional divorce from a marriage of 23 years. In 2011, Tyler attempted to purchase a gun. Despite having no subsequent diagnosis or documented…

Florida vacates Freddie Lee Hall’s death penalty sentence

Thursday, September 22, 2016The Florida Supreme Court ruled September 8 that Freddie Lee Hall is not eligible for the death penalty, concluding a long running saga that led to the Supreme Court redefining the bounds of the constitutionality of the death penalty against…

Settlement reached in Colorado competency evaluations lawsuit

Thursday, September 1, 2016Disability Law Colorado and the Colorado Department of Human Services announced a settlement in a federal lawsuit August 12, which accused the state of unconstitutionally long delays in its process for facilitating competency evaluations for people faced with criminal charges.…

Brendan Dassey conviction overturned

Monday, August 29, 2016A judge overturned the murder conviction of a man with intellectual disabilities on August 12 who was the subject of a high-profile documentary spotlighting the role of disability in confessions in the criminal justice system. ‚ÄúThis must be a bittersweet…

New Hampshire to begin reporting certain mental health records to national firearm database

Thursday, August 4, 2016An announcement from New Hampshire that the state will begin complying with federal mental health reporting requirements to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) is raising concerns from disability advocates. Under the Gun Control Act of 1968, people…

Florida newspapers win Pulitzer Prize for investigation of Florida mental health system

Tuesday, April 26, 2016
Investigative journalism award for reporting on Florida psychiatric hospitals
The Tampa Bay Times and Saratoga Herald-Tribune were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism April 18 for its year-long investigation into Florida’s network of state-run mental health hospitals. “…

Florida passes bill to protect people with autism when being interviewed by the police

Monday, April 18, 2016Florida will soon become the first state to implement protections for people with autism spectrum disorders in police interrogations. Under the Wes Kleinert Fair Interview Act [PDF], signed by Governor Rick Scott on April 1, people with ASD will…

Utah settles lawsuit with inmate with disabilities in sex offender program

Thursday, March 24, 2016
News from Utah
The state of Utah will pay a former inmate $60,000 in damages for failing to accommodate him in a sex offender treatment program, extending his period of incarceration for years. In 1996, a jury sentenced Richard Ramirez…

Obama Administration clarifies HIPAA rules for firearm reporting

Wednesday, January 13, 2016
Patient Privacy and Public Safety Balancing Act
The Department of Health and Human Services released new regulations January 6 that seek to clarify the applicability of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act when states submit names of people with…

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