Contact: Melody Mitchell, NIU College of Law
April 10, 2009
DeKalb, Ill. — The 18th Annual Northern Illinois University College of Law Review Symposium, “Confronting the Challenges of Persons Who Are Mentally Ill: Best Practices and Remaining Issues in the Law” will be held from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Friday, April 17 at the NIU College of Law – Riley Courtroom.
The symposium will feature internationally-renowned speakers Chief Judge Ginger Lerner-Wren of the Broward County Florida Mental Health Court and New York Law School Professor Michael Perlin, and will focus on how our legal system and laws have changed in an effort to meet the needs of persons with mental illness. Topics include adequate representation of a person who is mentally ill, the emergence of mental health courts across the United States, and legal issues surrounding the recent changes in Illinois’ civil commitment procedures.
Judge Lerner-Wren will present the luncheon keynote address Why Jurisdictions Should Consider Establishing Mental Health Courts. Judge Lerner was selected to serve as the Mental Health Court Judge for the nation’s first court dedicated to the decriminalization and treatment of the mentally ill in the criminal justice system.
Hailed as a national model and best practice, Broward County’s innovative Mental Health Court was the model for Congress as it passed the Criminal Reduction and Diversion Legislation in 1999. Broward’s Mental Health Court was profiled at the White House Conference on Mental Health in 1999. In July 2002, President Bush appointed Judge Lerner-Wren to The President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, where she chaired the Criminal Justice Subcommittee.
Professor Perlin, an internationally-recognized expert on mental disability law, has devoted his career to championing legal rights for people with mental disabilities. He will present the afternoon keynote address “A Change Is Gonna Come.” The Implications of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for the Domestic Practice of Constitutional Mental Disability Law.
A prolific author of fifteen books and well over 175 scholarly articles on all aspects of mental disability law, Professor Perlin travels around the globe and advises mental health professionals, hospitals, advocates, activists, lawyers, and governments. In conjunction with Mental Disability Rights International, a U.S.-based human rights advocacy organization, he has presented mental disability training workshops in Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Bulgaria, and Uruguay.
Additional expert speakers and panelists include:
On-line registration and additional symposium details are available at www.niu.edu/law. This program is approved for six hours of professional responsibility CLE credit for eligible attorneys.
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