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Mental Health Criminal Defense Attorney

If you or a loved one is mentally ill and facing criminal charges, you may all be in the middle of a nightmare. The criminal justice system is not setup well to deal with the mentally ill. Often, they are over-prosecuted and over-punished. Not because there are not resources to help or even that the prosecutors and judges are insensitive. They simply do not have information because you do not have the right advocate.

You know that the Lew Sterrett Justice Center is a jail. Did you also know that it is one of the largest psychiatric hospitals in Texas? It can be a cold and lonely place for the mentally ill if you do not have the right person on your side. Once again, it is not because there are not skilled and caring mental health professionals in the jail. There are, but without the right lawyer, the right people may not have the right information about you or your loved one, or the right people may not even know about you or your loved one.

In my years as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney, I have read tens of thousands of pages of mental health records from every mental health facility in North Texas, Terrell State Hospital, Vernon, Big Springs, and so on. When my mentally ill clients are in trouble, I worked with private investigators to subpoena all the records about my client's mental health. I pour through records such and these and do in depth interviews with family members. I tell the story of my client's life and the story of their mental health. I make sure that NOBODY knows more about my client than I do. My goal is to KNOW what is best for my client. This is the best way to get the DA and the Judge to get on board. I know how to take all the raw materials and make the most compelling argument for my clients benefit.

Under Texas law, it is unconstitutional to force anyone who is mentally incompetent to stand trial. They must be able to comprehend the charges they are charged with and assist me in their defense. I have worked with the psychiatrists who evaluate individuals for competency to stand trial. It can be a time- consuming process and my families are grateful that I can explain where we are in the process and how long it will take, or if there is any way for me to stop or shorten the waiting process.

Competency is not insanity. Insanity is a separate legal defense where as a result of a mental illness or defect, at the time of the offense, the defendant did not know their actions were wrong. I have tried insanity defense cases and handled them as a prosecutor and as a defense attorney. I also have worked with many mental health professionals in the assessment and presentation of an insanity defense.

I have gotten outstanding results in cases where my client was mentally ill. I believe it is because of my knowledge and experience in dealing with the unique challenges of these cases. More importantly, it is because I care deeply and feel sympathy for my mentally ill clients and their families.

By Brian Corrigan
Board Certified Dallas Criminal Defense Attorney