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Are there any laws to protect mentally challenged / ill people from police questioning?

Ocala, FL |

A friend of mine was recently questioned by the police. He is a bit slow, mentally (being in special needs classes through highschool). He has been on disability his whole life for mental illness (bipolar, depression, anxiety). When he was questioned they tried to get him to admit to commiting a crime. While he didn't do that, he did, apparently, make incriminating statements that are now being used again him in a felony criminal trial. They , purposely, tried to confuse him, as is evident in the police report, and even tricked him out of a lawyer when he requested one. I was just wondering if there were any laws to protect him, because of the mental problems, from the police using these tactics against someone like him.

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Attorney answers 1


No. You have described some reasons why his statement may not be usable against him, but there is no law forbidding the police from asking questions or even tricking a person, even if they are mentally ill or very low iq. It happens all the time.
His cognitive abilities would be a factor in determining whether he knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived his right to remain silent or his right to an attorney, but the (likely) only remedy for a violation would be suppression of his statement at trial.
He needs a lawyer to discuss his history of mental illness and cognitive abilities to determine if they will provide a defense to the charge.