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Mental Health Division

Attorneys in the Mental Health Division (MHD) handle involuntary civil commitment cases that arise in D.C. Superior Court. PDS is initially appointed when a person is detained in a mental hospital upon allegations that the person is a danger to self or others as a result of mental illness.

MHD lawyers also represent persons in post-commitment proceedings, including commitment reviews and outpatient revocation hearings, involuntary commitment proceedings of persons found incompetent to stand trial because of mental illness or mental retardation, and in matters relating to persons found not guilty by reason of insanity in D.C. Superior Court or United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The lawyers in this division also provide information to the Council of the District of Columbia on proposed mental health and mental retardation legislation, conduct training sessions on the rights of mentally ill persons involved in civil commitment actions, and provide legal assistance to CJA lawyers appointed by the court to handle involuntary civil commitment cases.

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