20 Hours | 20 CEs

This on-demand professional training program on Mental Disability Law and Criminal Law is presented by Michael L. Perlin, JD, and Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD, in partnership with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates.

This program explores in depth the relationship between mental disability and the criminal trial process. Topics include all aspects of the criminal incompetency status (including trial, plea, counsel waiver, and other pre-trial, trial, and post-trial stages); the insanity defense; institutionalization and release policies that govern the cases of persons found permanently incompetent to stand trial and those found not guilty by reason of insanity; the right of forensic patients to refuse antipsychotic medications; the role of mental disability evidence in other aspects of criminal trial and pre-trial proceedings (including confessions and privilege against self-incrimination matters); sentencing, the death penalty (including issues involving mitigation, predictions of future dangerousness, executability of persons with mental retardation, and competency to be executed); and the effectiveness of counsel in cases involving defendants with mental disabilities.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this program you will be able to:

  • Describe how experts and attorneys interact at all stages of the criminal prosecution (pre-trial, at trial and post-trial)

  • Describe aspects of the criminal incompetency status including: competency to stand trial, competency to waive counsel, competency to plead guilty, and “other” competencies (pre-trial, at trial and post-trial)

  • Describe all issues related to the refusal of medication in cases involving forensic patients

  • Describe issues related to those currently incompetent to stand trial, those pleading the insanity defense, and those who have been convicted

  • Describe the interaction between experts and attorneys during sentencing and the significance of mental disability in Federal Sentencing Guidelines cases

  • Describe the full spectrum of issues in death penalty cases involving persons with mental disabilities (including those with mental illness and those with intellectual disabilities)

  • Describe questions of mitigation

  • Describe competency to be executed

  • Describe eligibility for the death penalty

  • Describe all issues related to the role of mental disability evidence at trial

Presented By

Michael L. Perlin, JD

Michael L. Perlin is Professor of Law Emeritus at New York Law School (NYLS), founding director of NYLS’s Online Mental Disability Law Program, and founding director of NYLS’s International Mental Disability Law Reform Project in its Justice Action Center. He is also the co-founder of Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates. He has written 31 books and nearly 300 articles on all aspects of mental disability law, many of which deal with the overlap between mental disability law and criminal law and procedure.

Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD

Heather Ellis Cucolo is an adjunct professor in New York Law School’s online mental disability law program, has served as Acting Director of that program, and has contributed to the development of courses within the program as well as assisted in collaboration with Asia-Pacific partners to foster international distance learning. Professor Cucolo currently teaches the Americans with Disabilities Act, Therapeutic Jurisprudence, Mental Disability Law and Sex Offenders to both law students, clinicians and other professionals.

Collect Badges, Earn Certificates

This is a badge-earning program, which means it will help you earn a certificate that can be showcased on digital platforms like LinkedIn.

  • Intended Audience

    This self-paced program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals.

  • Experience Level

    This self-paced program is appropriate for beginner, intermediate, and advanced level clinicians.

  • CE / CPD Credit

    APA, ASWB, CPA, NBCC Click here for state and other regional board approvals.


  • 1


    • Review Before Proceeding

  • 2


    • Lesson 1 Video

    • Involuntary Civil Commitment

    • Criminal Trial Proces: Competency

    • Resistance to Jackson v. Indiana

    • Forty Years After Jackson v. Indiana

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 3

    Criminal Competency

    • Lesson 2 Video

    • The Relationship Between the ADA and the Incompetency Process

    • Indiana v. Edwards

    • Pro Se Competence in the Aftermath of Indiana v. Edwards

    • Beyond Dusky

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 4

    Insanity Defense: Substantive

    • Lesson 3 Video

    • Insanity


    • Lesson Quiz

  • 5

    Insanity Defense: Procedural, Dispositional, Myths, and Politics

    • Lesson 4 Video

    • Michael Jones v. United States

    • Procedural Issues

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 6

    Refusal of Medication in Forensic Cases

    • Lesson 5 Video

    • New Generation of Medications

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 7

    Trial Process Issues

    • Lesson 6 Video

    • Trial Process

    • Power and Greed and the Corruptible Seed

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 8

    Issues at the Sentencing Stage and upon Conviction

    • Lesson 7 Video

    • Sentencing


    • The Impact of PTSD on Criminal Sentencing

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 9

    Death Penalty in Cases of Defendants with Mental Disabilities

    • Lesson 8 Video

    • Death Penalty

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 10

    Death Penalty in Cases of Mentally Ill and Intellectually Disabled

    • Lesson 9 Video

    • The Role of Counsel

    • Panetti V Quarterman


    • Lesson Quiz

  • 11

    Adequacy of Counsel

    • Lesson 10 Video


    • Strickland v. Washington

    • Far from the Turbulent Space

    • Lesson Quiz

  • 12


    • Instructions

    • Evaluation

    • Submission Verification

Develop a Specialty Area of Practice

Transforming mental health professionals into experts

  • Expert Instructors

    Professional training developed and delivered by the field's leading experts

  • CE Credit

    Earn CE credit for meaningful professional training that will elevate your practice

  • Convenience & Flexibility

    Learn at your own pace, from wherever you might be!

Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates

We are proud to partner with Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, LLC for this training. MDLPA is a boutique educational training company that offers specialized mental disability law consulting, the creation or enhancement of distance learning programs, in-house or online courses, and day or weekend training seminars to reputable organizations, educational institutions, professional groups and advocacy groups focused on providing advanced knowledge and skills to persons working with marginalized populations.NYSAP professionals have played a key role for 25 years in research on juveniles’ competence to stand trial and in developing juvenile competence standards for forensic clinical practice, law, and policy. In response to the growing demand for juvenile competence evaluations nationally, we provide consultation to assist agencies in developing or refining their juvenile competence service delivery system, as well as creating and conducting quality assurance procedures. We train clinicians and juvenile justice stakeholders (e.g., judges, attorneys, and community partners) in practice standards for conducting high quality juvenile competence evaluations.

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