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Legal Advice about using mental health for defense.

Jacksonville, FL |

I'm wanting to ask about defense for my friend's trial. She has recently been charged with 'Dealing in Stolen Property'. During the two year period of this time frame, she was inpatient FOUR times at a mental health facility for ongoing Depression, Bipolar, Anxiety etc. Would that not be helpful in her defense since it was 'During' the time frame of when these laws were supposedly broken? A friend was selling her STOLEN merchandise, would her mental status NOT be beneficial based upon the second part of this charge being 'should have known'? I am NO attorney but she was medicated for things like 'concentration' (among others), her job even had her out on paid medical leave for 2 yrs now. This isn't helpful????

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Attorney answers 5


Did she know right from wrong?

You don't answer that. And, unless an expert establishes the standard, it wont be used



Well that's the million dollar question. Though she knows right from wrong, her judgment obviously wasn't at a normal status if she wasn't allowed to work ANY job of any kind (per her job and psychiatrist) trading her at the time. So she would have been an easy target and would nor have known something could have been stolen. Her attorney doesn't want to TOUCH this information. Why not? What would be the reason for not bringing this to light with a jury???





All of this needs to be brought to the attention of her criminal defense attorney. That attorney will need o subpoena all of her medical records , hire a medical expert to review and evaluate them, and obtain the testimony of her treating physicians.


In situations such as the one you are describing, it is usually appropriate for the attorney to have a full psychiatric evaluation done of the cient by a reputable doctor. If your friend meets the criteria, his attorney may move the court to transfer her case to mental health court which substitutes long term community based treatment for prison. For those who adhere to treatment sentences can be greatly reduced or charges dismissed however not all jurisdictions have a mental health court at this time. Broward has one of the first jurisdictions to introduce the concept.


It's great that you are interested in your friend's case. Why the attorney doesn't want to use this information is not something anybody here can answer without a detailed grasp of the case. Needless to say there are some reasons why certain defenses are not used. I'll give you an unrelated example:

Say I am fighting one of your cases in court. I know that two judges are generally assigned. Judge A and Judge B. I know that Judge A would accept my proposed defense (or at least hear it). I know that Judge B may hear my proposed defense but really hates it and will rule against me 99.999% of the time. If your case is assigned to Judge A, I'll bring the defense. If it's in front of Judge B, I'll look for any other defense before I consider a defense I know will likely get shot down.

Here's a bit of friendly advice. Your friend doesn't need a backseat lawyer, she needs a friend. Be there for her, reassure her, make sure life is a little less stressful for her. Let the lawyer be the lawyer. You concentrate on being her friend. If you help relieve her anxiety, the attorney will have a much easier time defending her.

DISCLAIMER This answer is not legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship between any user/reader and The Law Offices of Jimmy Allen Davis, P.L.. We encourage and welcome you to contact us about your legal problems and visit our website at or email me at


It may be helpful, but to know requires an expert to examiner her and her medical records, and further presupposes that she elects to go to trial and try to offer the dense into evidence. All very expensive, risky (she could lose!) and time consuming. Hopefully, she will have a lawyer who can gather what records there are, and present them to the prosecutor in mitigation a way effective enough for them to consider making her an offer that is not too punitive. Speak to her lawyer about these issues for better answers, as all facts must be known to give adequate advice about anything, and very little is known here. If her lawyer isn't listening or responding, find her another. Good luck.

The above is provided for educational purposes only and is not legal advice nor makes you a client of the Mosca Law Firm, PA. Please consult with a lawyer in order to obtain confidential legal advice that is tailored to your specific situation and facts.

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