If a person is charged with a crime and is in need of mental health treatment, can that be ordered as part of probation? Attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli explain.
Dave Kuharchik: We’ve got a criminal-related question on this edition of “The Law & You.” Back with us tonight are attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli here in the virtual law center. Thanks for being here tonight.
Ed Ciarimboli: The only criminal thing here is how much fun we have.
Dave: That’s for sure. All right, so here’s a question that involves David from Sunbury. He says, “If a person commits a crime but is in need of mental health treatment can this be ordered as part of any probation?” What is the deal here with David’s question?
Ed: It absolutely can be ordered as part of probation and, in fact, depending on the nature of the crime, how it was committed, when it was committed, and the nature of the person’s mental health disability. There’s even a special court that this could go into, and they can dispose of it that way. So, Luzerne County has really lead Pennsylvania in developing a treatment program for individuals that have disabilities and ultimately finding themselves in this system. So, they can and should be part of the probation requirements.
Greg Fellerman: And there are special courts for when you have these situations, including Drug Court, which is a great diversionary program for people who have addictions and are committing these smaller, non-violent crimes which are a great way to track these people and get them the help they need. Just like any other mental health or drug addiction stuff, they are based on the problems that they have as a result of an addiction or a mental health issue. Which, honestly, prisons aren’t made for that. Incarceration is for, I believe, very violent offenders, repeat offenders who don’t get it. So this is a great way to do a diversion. I’m a former prosecutor, so I have a lot of experience in criminal. But it’s a great way to divert.
Dave: And if you need legal advice to help, this is something you guys can send out?
Greg: We refer out. We have guys who do it. I do very little criminal defense anymore.
Dave: But if you have a question, the number, the website is on your screen. And don’t forget results matter. Attorneys Greg Fellerman and Ed Ciarimboli, thanks, guys.
Ed: Thank you.
The Law & You is a nightly feature on channels WBRE-TV 28 and WYOU-TV 22 where the attorneys from Fellerman & Ciarimboli answer legal questions. If you have a question that you want answered by the Law & You attorneys, please submit the form on this page or call the hotline at 1-888-570-HURT.