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Psychiatry and Law (LAWS 5213)

Course Info

This course focuses on the interaction between mental health and the legal system. Topics include: basic psychiatry for attorneys, overview of psychiatric symptoms and disorders, insanity defense, competence as a concept, competence to stand trial, other criminal competencies, insanity acquittee release, diminished capacity/guilty but mentally ill defenses, battered women syndrome defense, duress defense, informed consent, right to treatment, right to refuse treatment, duty to protect, drug courts, therapeutic jurisprudence, testamentary capacity/undue influence, defendant and prisoner rights, juvenile justice, civil commitment, infanticide, family murder and mental illness, child abuse evaluations, suicide and violence risk assessment, stalking, psychiatric disability and emotional damages, brief history of psychiatry, psychiatrist malpractice, and psychiatry and the death penalty. This course is taught by a forensic psychiatrist and is open for law, medical, and bioethics students, and practicing mental health professionals.


Dr. Stephen Noffsinger

Dr. Stephen Noffsinger is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University and a board certified psychiatrist and forensic psychiatrist who has been practicing forensic psychiatry for more than 25 years.


Dr. Susan Hatters-Friedman

Dr. Susan Hatters-Friedman is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Case Western Reserve University and a forensic and perinatal psychiatrist. She has practiced in forensic hospitals, general hospitals, court clinics, community mental health centers and correctional facilities.


The syllabus for your course is available on Canvas.


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