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.
Cucolo has spoke at the United Nations, advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities in the Asia Pacific region and has advised international attorneys on the benefits and implications of the ADA. Cucolo has published and lectured –both domestically and internationally — in the areas of mental disability law, criminal law and sex offender law. Her most recent collaboration involved expanding Michael L. Perlin’s five-volume MENTAL DISABILITY LAW: CIVIL AND CRIMINAL (2d ed.) (Lexis-Nexis, 1998-2002) into a seven-volume third edition (forthcoming 2016). As part of her ongoing advocacy as an attorney, she has represented individuals facing civil commitment under both The New Jersey Mental Hygiene Law and the New Jersey’s Sexually Violent Predators Act. During her full-time position with the New Jersey Public Defender’s office (05-10),Cucolo handled over 300 cases at trial and argued numerous appeals in the New Jersey appellate court – many of which have been published. Cucolo has been recognized as one of the premiere experts in sexual violent predator law and has counseled attorneys, judges and clinicians on law and procedure in civil commitment proceedings and issues involving persons suffering from a mental disability or illness within the criminal justice system.