For criminal defense lawyers of all types, clients with mental disabilities are a part of their practice. This includes the white collar criminal defense lawyer who represents an executive charged with tax evasion who functions despite a variety of conditions which he keeps hidden; the public defender assigned as standby or advisory counsel for the defendant who wants to represent himself at trial; and the sole practitioner representing the man with Asperger’s charged with possession of child pornography on his computer. Depending on the statistics you read, approximately a third of the inmates in our jails and prisons have some sort of mental disability. It has become cliche to say that our jails and prisons have become de facto mental institutions.
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