A young man came back from war with few options. A limited education, no skills, and demons from combat were the ingredients for failure, which set this young man on the wrong path. He had run-ins with the law and struggled to maintain steady employment. Sadly, his luck got worse when he was struck by a drunk driver while driving with his wife to a friend’s house. His wife died in the accident, and he was in a coma for several months. He was left with both physical and mental scarring. Several years later he once again ran into the law, and found himself facing significant prison time.
Misunderstood Mental Health
His attorney worked hard to demonstrate is lack of general capacity to function and understand. The Court ordered an evaluation, but the evaluators clearly were tainted by his past criminal history. They decided he was faking a psychological malady, when he actually had a traumatic brain injury. Sadly, these professionals never accessed his medical records from the accident. They had made up their mind.
Perseverance and Compassion
His attorney asked the Criminal Defense Team at Boeheim Freeman Law for help. Working together, they obtained over 5000 pages of medical records and poured through them pulling out the most relevant physical and psychological diagnosis. This extensive medical evidence was compiled and presented to two Assistant District Attorneys, who were able to see that this individual was not the same person who had committed previous crimes. They understood prison was not the place for this now struggling middle aged man, but instead he should have the opportunity to be part of Mental Health Court where he would have access to the support and resources needed to help him be an effective part of society.
Tulsa Mental Health Court
Mental Health Court is part of our Tulsa Alternative Courts program, and bridges two disciplines, criminal law and mental health treatment, in a judicially supervised coordinated systems approach that supports treatment services for mentally ill offenders. This therapeutic court approach seeks to protect public safety, break the cycle of repeated contact with the criminal justice system, and provide effective treatment options instead of the usual criminal sanctions for offenders with mental illness. They work to improve access to appropriate services within the mental health system reducing the number of repetitive law enforcement contacts for individuals with mental illness, thus reducing the direct cost to the criminal justice system. Their mission is to create hope for those involved in the criminal justice system suffering from addiction and mental illness in innovative, therapeutic court settings. Through compassion, inclusion and empowerment, they work collaboratively with community partners to guide participants on the path of transformation leading to sobriety and productive citizenship in the community, with a final result of reduced recidivism and reduced costs to the taxpayer.
This is a shining example of the Tulsa District Attorney’s Office and Criminal Defense Team at Boeheim Freeman Law working together to help the community and in this case a single individual who needs help, not incarceration.
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Boeheim Freeman Law