Mental Health Ethics 101 in the Criminal Justice System: A Primer for Handling Your Mentally Ill Client (Online Seminar)

MCLE Credits: 2.0
Ethics Credits Included: 2.0

MCLE Credit: 2.0 (Ethics: 2.0; VIDC Recertification Credit: 2.0)
Live-Interactive Credit: 0.0
Price: $149.00 (Includes a downloadable audio version.)
Viewable Through: 06/30/2020


A pre-recorded streaming video replay from the May 2017 webcast, Mental Health Ethics 101 in the Criminal Justice System: A Primer for Handling Your Mentally Ill Client.

VIDC Recertification Credit: 2.0

Program Benefits

  • Learn the ethical rules associated with handling a mentally ill client
  • Understand how to apply the ethical rules when you have a mentally ill client
  • Discover how to navigate the difficult and often treacherous landscape of representing the mentally-ill criminal defendant.

The Virginia State Bar's Rules of Professional Conduct form the backdrop of any attorney-client-based interaction. In their application to handling mentally ill clients, the rules are instructive but often difficult to apply in challenging situations that a defense counsel may face. Rule 1.14 spells out a guide for representing "Client with Impairment." Other Rules of importance are Rule 1.1, "Competence"; Rule 1.2, "Scope of Representation"; Rule 1.3, "Diligence"; Rule 1.4, "Communication"; Rule 1.6, "Confidentiality of Information"; and Rule 1.7, “Conflict of Interest". While certainly not exhaustive, as unusual situations may occur that draw in other applicable Rules, these are just some of the rules that a criminal defense attorney must consider when dealing with a mentally ill client.

How to determine where the ethical line is in dealing with your mentally ill criminal client can be difficult, especially when the line itself is in as much flux as your client's mental status. Would you know what to do it if a client is out of custody and tells you that he is going to kill his mother? What is your obligation under the Rules? What if instead of killing his mother, he now states that people are after him and he will shoot anyone who comes near him? What now? What if he makes no threats but you are aware that he is paranoid, delusional, and has guns in his house? How does that alter your position? What if you don't believe him under any of the scenarios? You think he is malingering—what if he's not? What if you truly believe him based on past attorney/client discussions. What do you do? What Rules apply?




Annette Miller, Virginia Beach Public Defender’s Office / Virginia Beach (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Annette Miller is a Senior Trial Attorney with the City of Virginia Beach. She has been a public defender from 1995 to the present and specializes in those individuals who suffer from serious mental illnesses. Her undergraduate degree is from Virginia Tech, with a double major in English and Political Science (1979-83). She has a Master’s degree in English from Syracuse University and taught English at Syracuse while completing her degree requirements (1983-1985). Her law degree is from the University of Richmond (1988). She was the first law clerk for the Virginia Beach Circuit Court judges (1989-91). Ms. Miller worked for Parker Pollard & Brown from 1991-1995, specializing in workers’ compensation and personal injury. She was awarded a Virginia Beach Human Rights Award for mental health education and advocacy in 2000. She was published in the American Bar Association’s Criminal Litigation magazine, Winter 2010, Volume 10, Number 2. The article is entitled “The Post-Adjudication ‘Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity’ Process in the State of Virginia.” Ms. Miller regularly teaches a comprehensive CLE seminar for her office entitled “Handling Criminal Cases and the Mentally Ill, A Guide for Attorneys, Clients, & Their Families” and has lectured extensively in the field including, but not limited to, the Virginia State Bar’s 42nd Annual Criminal Law Seminar, 2008 Regional Judge’s Conference, 2012 Virginia Beach Bar Association’s Seminar entitled “Representing a Client with Mental Health Issues,” and the Indigent Defense Commission’s Late Day Lecture Series on Mental Health Ethics (2016).

D. Bradley Marshall, Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney's Office / Manassas (Expand/Collapse Bio)

Bradley Marshall has served as an Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney in Prince William County since 2009, where he specializes in prosecuting criminal street gang cases, violent crimes, firearms offenses, and mental health–related cases. Mr. Marshall is the President of the Prince William County Bar Association, having served on its Board of Directors for two years prior. He is also in his second term on the Board of the PWC Bar Foundation, and is the Chairman of the Community Criminal Justice Board. Mr. Marshall is heavily involved in criminal justice reform at the local and state level, serving on the local Evidence-Based Decision Making Policy Committee, is a member of the local DIVERT Committee on the mentally ill in the criminal justice system, and helped establish and implement PWC's Mental Health Docket. Mr. Marshall received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia, and his juris doctorate degree from Michigan State University. He is a graduate of Leadership Prince William, received the Potomac Local Forty Under 40 Award in 2014, received the County Executive Award for 2015, was named to the inaugural class of Virginia Lawyers Weekly's "Up and Coming Lawyers" in 2016, and was named the 2017 Pro Bono/Volunteer Attorney of the Year by the PWC Bar Association.

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