Marriott Denver City Center, Denver, CO
For assuring humane treatment for individuals with mental health problems:
Iris Eytan (Reilly Pozner LLP), Farrell A. Carfield (Reilly Pozner LLP), Sean Connelly (Reilly Pozner LLP), Caleb Durling (Reilly Pozner LLP), Kari W. Goodnight (Reilly Pozner LLP), Marcus J. Lock(Wilderson, Lock & Hill, LLC), Ellie Lockwood (Reilly Pozner LLP), Jason M. Lynch (Reilly Pozner LLP), Lindsay A. Unruh (Reilly Pozner LLP)
The Special Recognition Award is given for outstanding professionalism, commitment and support of the mission of the Colorado Lawyers Committee. The Lawyers Committee is honored to present this award to the Jail Wait Litigation Team in appreciation of its exceptional work on Center for Legal Advocacy v. Bicha.
The lawsuit, which was filed in August 2011 in collaboration with counsel from Center for Legal Advocacy (aka The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People), challenged the failure of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo to provide timely evaluations and treatment for presumptively incompetent individuals in jail. At the time, individuals charged with a crime and awaiting competency evaluations remained incarcerated, often without restorative treatment, for periods of time that often exceeded the possible sentences for their crime. The team entered into 8 months of negotiations with the State. In April 2012, the parties agreed to a settlement that is considered the most comprehensive agreement in the United States to help pretrial detainees who are mentally ill. Specifically, the agreement stipulates that the State must evaluate or begin medical treatment of any person who is presumptively incompetent within 28 days of receiving a court order to do so; monthly progress reports also must be submitted to The Center for Legal Advocacy to ensure compliance. The agreement is being phased into every Colorado county over the course of 15 months, with the Federal District Court maintaining jurisdiction for up to 10 years. To date, the State is in full compliance.
Attorney’s fees also were awarded as part of this landmark settlement agreement. Reilly Pozner LLP is donating its portion to host the first National Criminal Defense Forum on Forensic Mental Health & the Law in September 2013. The forum will bring the nation’s most prominent forensic psychologists, psychiatrists and lawyers to Denver to discuss issues of competency and insanity, and related legal strategies.
The Colorado Lawyers Committee truly appreciates the outstanding and far-reaching contributions made by the Jail Wait Team in assuring the humane treatment for individuals with mental health problems in our state. We are delighted to present you with a 2013 Special Recognition Award.
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