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MDLPA: Mental Disability Law and Criminal Law

Presented By Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD | Michael Perlin, JD
Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD Michael Perlin, JD

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 (MDLPA). This badge-earning program can be shared digitally on platforms like LinkedIn or your resume and counts towards a certificate. Enroll in this program to earn credit towards Mental Disability Law Certificate and share your new digital credentials with prospective employers and colleagues.

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.

Intended Audience

This on-demand professional training program is intended for mental health and other allied professionals

Experience Level

This on-demand professional training 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.

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 (pretrial, 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 insanity defense

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

Describe confessions and privileges against self-incrimination

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


Presented By

Heather Ellis Cucolo, JD

Heather Ellis Cucolo is a Distinguished Adjunct professor of law and the facilitator of the joint JD/MA program with John Jay College of Criminal Justice, at New York Law School (NYLS). She is also an adjunct professor in the JM Program at Emory University School of Law, and a Fellowship faculty mem...

Presented By

Michael 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 Di...


1. Introduction

2. Criminal Competency

3. Insanity Defense: Substantive

4. Insanity Defense: Procedural, Dispositional, Myths, and Politics

5. Refusal of Medication in Forensic Cases

6. Trial Process Issues

7. Issues at the Sentencing Stage and Upon Conviction

8. Death Penalty in Cases of Defendants with Mental Disabilities

9. Death Penalty in Cases of Mentally Ill and Intellectually Disabled

10. Adequacy of Counsel

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!

Program Partner

Mental Disability Law and Policy Associates, LLC

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.

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Earn Certificates

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