You are here:
Mental Health Court
Mental Health Court
The goal of the Mental Health Court Initiative is early
identification of the mentally disordered or developmentally disabled
offender and linkages to treatment. Access to this program can occur at
any point in the criminal justice continuum. Click here to view the Mental Health Court Initiative Brochure.
Increasingly, more and more inmates’ in the nation’s jail and prison
systems are mentally ill. Jails and prisons have become the
institutions of the last resort for the mentally ill. Development of
the Mental Health Court Docket became a critical collaborative
initiative between the criminal justice and the mental health treatment
systems. In 2002, the Court of Common Pleas along with Suburban Court
partners developed the Mental Health Court Docket model for
presentation and ultimate acceptance at the Eighth District Judicial
Conference. The focus of this collaboration is to identify existing
programs and services that serve these populations; to identify the
gaps in services, and expand resources; to enhance communication and
training which ultimately provides an efficient, effective and
consistent criminal response. The objectives of the collaboration are
early identification and linkages to treatment services for offenders
with mental illness or those offenders that are developmentally
disabled. Services include screening, assessment and sentencing
responses, assertive community treatment, and crisis intervention teams.
Health Liaisons provide recommendations to assist the Suburban Courts
and Police Departments with the mentally ill and developmentally
- Mental Health Liaisons visit the jails within 24 hours to provide evaluations and recommendations to the Police and Courts.
- Access to the jails psychiatric ward and NorthCoast Behavioral Healthcare for stabilization.
Attorney consistency; an attorney appointed to defend the offender in
the suburban courts is the same attorney who represents the offender at
the Common Pleas felony level.
- The County Prosecutor and Public Defenders office have a designated point person for the Mental Health Court Docket.
Specialized training for all individuals who interact with the
offender; Judges, Attorneys, Police Officers, Probation Officers, etc.
Improved and enhanced communication with the County Mental Health
Board, Associated Boards and linkages to appropriate resources.
- Specialized judicial practices to address the mentally ill offender.
To be eligible for the Mental Health Court Docket, clients must meet
the following criteria per the diagnosis of a mental health
A defendant is deemed to have a confirmed serious mental illness if
within the previous six months, prior to arraignment, there is a
clinical diagnosis of severe mental illness with a psychotic feature.
includes schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and other psychotic disorders.
Clients diagnosed as having a mental disorder other than psychosis are
ineligible for the clinical components but may be eligible and
supervised by the probation component.
A defendant is deemed to be eligible if there is a clinical diagnosis
that the defendant meets current Developmentally Disabled Offender
eligibility of an IQ of 75 or less and/or an adaptive skills deficit.
AUTHORITY AND ATTORNEY ASSIGNMENT -
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court created the Mental Health Court
Docket (MHCD) through amendments to Local Rules 30, 30.1, and 33.
Rules and approved MHCD attorneys assignment list may be accessed through the Court’s Web site at http://cp.cuyahogacounty.us/internet/index.aspx.
Defendants may be identified for Mental Heath Docket eligibility determination through any of the following means:
Court Bind Over – Suburban Municipal Court eligibility determination by
the Mental Health Liaisons; cases bound over on a “docket five” case
form for continuation of mental health attorney assignment and mental
health docket assignment.
Attorney Referral – Attorney
with access to diagnostic information on client forwards referral to
Pretrial Services for eligibility determination process.
Investigation – Bond Investigator refers case for assessment and
determination utilizing community mental health information.
Health Liaisons – Mental Health Liaisons determine via diagnostic
information that defendants meet eligibility standards and refer case
to Pretrial Services for Mental Health Court Docket assignment.
– Jail psychiatrists’ diagnoses defendant in custody of the County Jail
and the jail staff refers to Pretrial Services for consideration to the
Mental Health Court Docket assignment.
Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services Board, Case Western Reserve
University, Center for Mental Retardation, City of Cleveland, Cleveland
Municipal Court, Cleveland Municipal Court Psychiatric Clinic,
Cleveland Police Department, Cuyahoga Community Mental Health Board,
Cuyahoga County Adult Probation & Pretrial Services, Cuyahoga
County Board of Mental Retardation and Development Disabilities,
Cuyahoga County Corrections Planning Board, Cuyahoga County Corrections
Center, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Cuyahoga County Court
Psychiatric Clinic, Cuyahoga County Prosecutors Office, Cuyahoga County
Public Defenders Office, Cuyahoga County Department of Justice Affairs,
Cuyahoga County Suburban Municipal Courts, Legal Aid Society of
Cleveland, Mental Health Services, NAMI Greater Cleveland, NorthCoast
Behavioral Healthcare, Positive Education Program, Private Defense
Attorneys, Recovery Resources, The Cuyahoga County Bar Association,
U.S. Secret Service.
For more information contact:
Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
1200 Ontario Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Daniel Peterca, Manager Pretrial Services
Official website of the Mental Health Court
Other related sites to the Mental Health Court are below.
Ohio Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence
Criminal Justice/Mental Health Consensus Project
Criminal Justice/Mental Health Information Network