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Representing People with Mental Disabilities: A Practical Webinar for Criminal Defense Lawyers

Level: Advanced
Runtime: 89 minutes
Recorded Date: February 12, 2019
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  • Mitigation
  • Mental Health and Veteran Courts
  • Juveniles and Juvenile Sex Offenses
  • Competency and Sanity
  • Neuroimaging
Runtime: 1 hour and 29 minutes
Recorded: February 12, 2019


For criminal defense lawyers of all types, clients with mental disabilities are a part of their practice. This includes the white collar criminal defense lawyer who represents an executive charged with tax evasion who functions despite a variety of conditions which he keeps hidden; the public defender assigned as standby or advisory counsel for the defendant who wants to represent himself at trial; and the sole practitioner representing the man with Asperger’s charged with possession of child pornography on his computer. Depending on the statistics you read, approximately a third of the inmates in our jails and prisons have some sort of mental disability. It has become cliche to say that our jails and prisons have become de facto mental institutions.

This program was recorded on February 12th, 2019.

Provided By

American Bar Association
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Antoinette Kavanaugh, Ph.D., ABPP

Forensic Clinical Psychologist

I am a licensed, board certified forensic clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience providing case evaluation and consultation in juvenile, criminal, civil, and capital cases worldwide.

Specialized training in the fields of psychology and law equips me with reliable, research-based evaluation methods that meet rigorous legal standards. I approach each case with diligence and integrity, communicating with my clients at all stages of the process. Having practiced in a variety of environments, from the inner-city of Chicago to rural Massachusetts, I know how to establish rapport with people from all walks of life. Equally comfortable preparing a report or giving testimony in court, I explain my findings in a clear, concise and credible way.

In addition to my work as a practitioner, I enjoy helping others navigate the complex intersection of psychology and law. I consult and present to child welfare, criminal justice, and juvenile justice agencies; play a leadership role in professional organizations; write reviews of research; and publish in peer-reviewed journals. These efforts allow me to contribute to the field while staying abreast of new developments.

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Jennifer Johnson

J.K. Johnson Advisors

Jennifer Johnson is the Principal at J.K. Johnson Advisors, LLC.

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Stephen G. Cobb

Law Offices of Stephen G. Cobb

Stephen G. Cobb is an experienced criminal defense attorney. His practice has multiple offices throughout Florida and he is dedicated to delivering exceptional results for every client regardless of the size of the case. With over 10,000 criminal cases in Florida, ranging from DUI to first degree murder, Stephen G. Cobb has handled literally every kind of case and has the experience and know-how to get moving in the right direction for clients immediately.

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Elliot Atkins

Consulting Psychologist, Forensic & Clinical Psychology
Elliot L. Atkins, Ed.D

Dr. Elliot Atkins is a clinical, forensic and consulting psychologist with offices in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Marlton, New Jersey. He started his clinical practice in 1977 and began his work in forensic psychology in 1980. He has performed a wide variety of evaluations in both the criminal and civil arenas as well as having conducted employment and educational evaluations. In the criminal arena, Dr. Atkins has been asked to conduct evaluations related to the insanity defense, competency, risk assessment, and sentencing. In the civil arena, Dr. Atkins has conducted evaluations in the areas related to custody/divorce, psychological injury, social security disability and psychological autopsies. Dr. Atkins has also been admitted as an expert witness before state and federal courts across the country in both the criminal and civil arenas. More recently, he has been asked to be a consultant for the United States Air Force’s Judge Advocate General Corp’s, Catholic Diocese, Ford Motors and the American Boys Choir.

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Elizabeth Kelley

Founding Attorney
Law Offices of Elizabeth Kelley

Elizabeth Kelley is a criminal defense lawyer with a nationwide practice focused on representing people with mental disabilities.

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