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Attorney Majid Foroozandeh Champions Rights of Mentally Disabled Defendants

Majid Foroozandeh, of the Law Offices of Foroozandeh, APC (foroozandeh-law.com), claims California is flawed, when it comes to protecting the rights of criminal defendants with mental disabilities. Attorney Foroozandeh weighs in on the July 29, 2015 Reuters article reporting that the state of California was sued for failing to protect mentally disabled defendants*.

The aforementioned Reuters article further states that some families claimed their mentally ill or developmentally disabled loved ones endured rape and other trauma while languishing in California jails, claiming officials failed to provide access to treatment centers as required by law.

“The law clearly states that when the state prosecutes a person who is mentally unable to participate in the court proceedings, it is required to suspend the proceedings and provide the defendants medical evaluation and treatment,” said attorney Majid Foroozandeh, of the Law Offices of Foroozandeh, APC. He added, “However, the criminal legal system is generally on the side of the prosecutors compromising the mentally ill defendants’ constitutional rights.

The lawsuit written about in the Reuters article was filed on behalf of four families by the American Civil Liberties Union in Superior Court in Alameda County near San Francisco.* Majid stresses that this is not only a state issue, but also highlights the ineptitude of the Federal system of detention.

“The chance of physical, sexual and mental abuse of a mentally or physically disabled person in custody is astronomical,” said Majid. “At any moment in custody, harm is hovering over the detainees and more cases of abuse go unreported or worse undetected simply because there are no checks and balances in place to deal with the issue.”

“Additionally,” said Majid, “availability of resources such as in a state hospital is by itself an obstacle, and the problem is amplified by the inability to render or receive treatment whilst the detainee is awaiting trial, jailed or awaiting transfer to a care provider.” When a judge rules that a defendant is mentally incompetent to stand trial and orders the defendant to a state hospital for evaluation and treatment, the defendant’s rights are well protected, but the future remains a question mark.”

“While in custody, inmates and the authorities bully the incarcerated mentally ill. Unfortunately, the courts are basically overwhelmed when it comes to the mentally disabled, who are caught up in the slow wheels of justice,” said Majid. “The solution is not necessarily throwing more money at the problem; rather, it is the implementation of checks and balances to deal with persons in custody who are suffering from mental or physical disabilities.”

*Case No. RG15779731/California Superior Court in Alameda County

About Law Offices of Foroozandeh, APC
Law Offices of Foroozandeh, APC is an Orange County–based law firm engaged in handling cases involving immigration, DUI/DWI, personal injury/Medical Malpractice, bankruptcy, real estate, employment and labor, business and contract issues. They are located at 9891 Irvine Center Drive, suite 130, Irvine, CA 92618, and represent clients throughout Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties For more information, please call (949) 336-8505.

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