Category Archives: front Mental Health

CPCS CLE Requirement – Emergency Policy Change – Fiscal Year 2020 Only

Dear Private Attorneys,

We hope you and your families are well during this difficult time.  Due to exceptional circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 virus, CPCS is waiving the Continuing Legal Education hours requirement for all units for Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020.)

Although we have waived the CLE requirements, we encourage you to attend webinars that are relevant to your practice area to support your professional development.  The CPCS training unit will post offerings for webinars soon. Please see the CPCS Training Department Website.

You may still be paid for eight (8) hours of training if you meet the attendance and payment requirements.

Additionally, Panel Directors may offer credit for webinars that are not sponsored by CPCS.  Please contact the Panel Director for your practice area to determine whether you may get credit and bill for attendance at a webinar not sponsored by CPCS.

We hope that we will be returning to offering in-person training in the later part of the Spring (all in person CPCS training has been cancelled through April 30, 2020), and look forward to seeing you then.

The CPCS Training Department and Panel Directors

 

DO YOU WANT TO PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE FACING GUARDIANSHIP PETITIONS? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL AND REPRESENT RESPONDENTS IN PROBATE COURT.

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to the spring 2020 Guardianship Certification Training.

A guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty – under guardianship the person can no longer legally make their own decisions about many issues, including where to live, what medical treatment to accept or refuse, and other decisions adults make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel. There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the some of the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.

This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on March 16, 19, 20 (8:45 a.m. to 5:00 each day) and March 31, 2020. March 31st will be mock trials (schedule to be determined depending on number of accepted applicants).

The deadline to apply is February 10, 2020. There is no cost to apply, but the cost of the training upon registration is $125.00. Applicants must be accepted into the program in order to register. We will notify everyone of acceptance status after February 10, 2020; please allow up to ten (10) days after the application deadline before inquiring about status.

Note that it is expected that you will promptly commence your mental health practice and to take at least one mental health case within six (6) months of successful completion of this certification program.

Please click here to apply

In order to submit your application you must press Submit at the bottom left hand side, below the signature. If you are not able to complete the application at one time you may press the Save button, on the bottom right hand side, and you will receive a link to use when you are ready to complete the application.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Guardianship Certification Training or for questions about the application, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782 or mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net

Appeals Court: Hearsay Not Enough to Revoke Probation

A juvenile should not have had their probation revoked based entirely “on unreliable hearsay testimony from a Department of Children and Families case worker,” the Massachusetts Appeals Court has ruled. 

During an Oct. 2, 2017 probation revocation hearing, a DCF case worker testified that the juvenile was not cooperating with the department and “ha[d] broken all the rules,” according to the decision.

However, the case worker was not assigned to the juvenile’s case when the alleged violations occurred. The case worker also admitted that his testimony was entirely based on conversations with a third party and notes from the juvenile’s DCF case file.

“This case is a simple case of classic, multiple-level, hearsay,” said Benjamin L. Falkner, a Committee for Public Counsel Services bar advocate, during oral arguments in March. “It does not come close to meeting the requirements of being substantially reliable.”

The Appeals Court agreed, and on Tuesday reversed a lower court judge’s order revoking probation and imposing a sentence on the juvenile.

“We … conclude that the testimony from the case worker lacked the ‘indicia of reliability’ required to support finding that the juvenile violated his probation,” Appeals Court Justice Edward McDonough wrote. “Significantly, the case worker’s testimony lacked the requisite factual detail.”

HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC CHALLENGES – APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION COMMITMENT PANEL!

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its Fall 2019 Civil Commitment Certification Training.

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months, and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles these clients to court-appointed counsel to ensure that all their rights under the law are protected.

This certification training will be held in Worcester on October 16, 17, and 18 (all day), and on October 29, 2019 (this last day will be a mock trial; you will be scheduled for either the morning or afternoon session, to be determined).

Please complete the application here:

The application deadline is September 6, 2019. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.

For more information or questions about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782 or mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net.

MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION APPELLATE CERTIFICATION TRAINING – OCTOBER 2- 4, 2019

The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for an Appellate Certification Training taking place this October.  The training will take place in Worcester over the course of three days:

Wednesday, October 2, 2019 from 8:45 – 4:30**
Thursday, October 3, 2019 from 8:45 – 4:30
Friday, October 4, 2019 from 8:45 – 4:30

Applicants to the program need to be accepted prior to registering for the training. 

**Current Mental Health Litigation panel members in good standing can opt out of attending Day One of this training, which will be a “Mental Health 101” course for those not currently on the Mental Health Litigation Trial Panel.

To apply, please download the application from our website at: https://www.publiccounsel.net/mh/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/CPCS-Mental-Health-Appellate-Panel-Application-June-2019.doc

Deadline to submit the application is August 30, 2019.

Further Information:

For further information regarding the appellate panel certification process, please contact Karen Talley at (508) 583-0560 or ktalley@publiccounsel.net.

           

SJC rules that Discharge in mental health commitments means: Discharge

In a major decision (Pembroke Hospital v. D.L. (May 23, 2019)) the SJC ruled that when a petition for commitment under Chapter 123 is denied, the respondent cannot be held for further evaluation at the petitioning facility or another facility barring new evidence “that failure to hospitalize such person would create a likelihood of serious harm by reason of mental illness.” M.G.L. chapter 123, sec. 12(a). An “involuntary readmission pursuant to § 12 must be based on new information that was unavailable to the judge during the previous petition hearing. Here, as the judge denied the first petition — finding D.L. not to be a danger to himself or others — Pembroke needed new information pertaining to D.L.’s dangerousness in order to readmit him properly pursuant to § 12.” Pembroke v. D.L. at footnote 13.

In this case, Pembroke failed to discharge D.L. within the meaning of G. L. c. 123 after the denial of its petition to continue D.L.’s confinement; this was a violation of the statute. See G. L. c. 123, § 6 (a). In addition, Pembroke’s § 12 (a) application to South Shore for evaluation and subsequent readmission and involuntary confinement of D.L. was an “abuse or misuse” of § 12. See G. L. c. 123, § 12 (b); Magrini, 451 Mass. at 784, 889 N.E.2d 929. Finally, because D.L. was not held lawfully under § 12 (b), the District Court did not have jurisdiction to rule on the petition for civil commitment pursuant to G. L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8. For these reasons, the decision and order of the Appellate Division denying D.L.’s motion to dismiss is reversed. The order of civil commitment pursuant to §§ 7 and 8 is vacated.

Congratulations to Devorah Borenstein who argued and briefed the case, Director of Mental Health Appeals, Karen Talley  for her support and Bar Advocates, Mike O’Brien & Joan Legraw, who were trial counsel in the successive petitions.

DO YOU WANT TO HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE FACING GUARDIANSHIP PETITIONS? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL!

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its spring 2019 Guardianship Certification Training.

A guardianship is a substantial deprivation of liberty – under guardianship the person can no longer legally make their own decisions about many issues,including where to live, what medical treatment to accept or refuse, and other decisions adults make every day. Because of this significant infringement on civil rights, respondents are entitled to court-appointed counsel.

There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the some of the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.

This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on March 18, 19, 20 (8:45 a.m. to 5:00 each day) and April 10, 2019.  April 10th will be mock trials (schedule to be determined depending on the number of accepted applicants).

Please download the application from our website at :  https://www.publiccounsel.net/wp-content/uploads/MHLD-Panel-Application-1.9.19.pdf

The deadline to apply is February 19, 2019. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Guardianship Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782, mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at (617) 910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net.

DO YOU WANT TO HELP PROTECT THE CIVIL RIGHTS OF PEOPLE WITH PSYCHIATRIC CHALLENGES? APPLY TO JOIN THE MENTAL HEALTH LITIGATION DIVISION TRIAL PANEL!

The Mental Health Litigation Division (MHLD) of the Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS) is now accepting applications to its fall 2018 Civil Commitment Certification Training.

In Massachusetts, people experiencing psychiatric distress can be involuntarily detained at psychiatric facilities, committed for up to six months, and treated with medications against their wishes. This substantial deprivation of liberty entitles these clients to court-appointed counsel to make sure that all their rights under the law are protected.

There is a great need for certified attorneys to represent these clients and it is rewarding work. Effective advocacy by attorneys can make a real difference in these cases. You will get client contact, litigation experience, and the satisfaction of knowing that the most vulnerable people in the Commonwealth had a lawyer to fight for their rights.

This certification training will be held at Community Legal Aid in Worcester on October 22, 23, 24 (9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day), and November 5, 2018. November 5th will be a half-day mock hearing (you will be scheduled for either morning or afternoon, to be determined).
Please download the application from our website here: MHLD Panel Application

The deadline to apply is September 21, 2018. Applicants to the program must be accepted before registering. The cost of the training is $125.00.

For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training, please contact Miriam Ruttenberg at (617) 910-5782, mruttenberg@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at (617) 910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net.

Mental Health Litigation Certification Training Spring 2018

The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for its spring 2018 Certification Training. The first 5 days of the training will be held at the Worcester Registry of Deeds on the following dates:

  • Monday, April 23, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Monday, April 30, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • Tuesday, May 1, 2018 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm
  • The 6th day of the training on clinical aspects of mental health litigation is tentatively scheduled for May 18, 2018, location TBD.
  • Please download the application from our website here
  • Applicants must be accepted before registering for the training.
    For more information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Certification Training, please contact Joe Robinson at 617-910-5784, jrobinson@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at 617-910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net
    The deadline to apply is April 2, 2018.
Link

The CPCS Mental Health Litigation Division is now accepting applications for its 3 day Civil Commitment Certification Training taking place November 2, 3 and 17, 2017.  The training will be held at the Brockton CPCS office, 144 Main Street, 1st floor conference room on the following dates:

Thursday, November 2, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Friday, November 3, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

Friday, November 17, 2017 from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

To apply, please click on the link to download the application here.

Deadline to submit the application is October 12, 2017.

Applicants to the program must be accepted prior to registering for the training.

For further information about the Mental Health Litigation Division Civil Commitment Certification Training process, please contact Joe Robinson at 617-910-5784, jrobinson@publiccounsel.net or Paulette Marie at 617-910-5844, pmarie@publiccounsel.net