CLE Course Details

Peculiar and Difficult or Mentally Ill? What are Judges and Lawyers to do When Mental Illness Affects the Courtroom?

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Price: $65
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  • Description

    This CLE program is designed to educate lawyers and judges about how to identify mental illness in the courtroom, what steps to take to ensure orderly proceedings without trampling rights and what resources are available.

    Some of the topics to be addressed include:

    • how to identify mental illness that interferes with a litigant’s rights and when it is time for the court or attorney to intervene
    • how the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program works in Housing Court; what steps can be taken in other courts for appointment of a GALs; and the issues with such appointments
    • an overview of Mental Health Act Article 9, involuntary commitment, and Article 81 guardianships; who can initiate such actions and what is the process
    • the attorney’s ethical duty when a client or potential client’s mental illness interferes with the relationship; when to inform the court; ? Is there an obligation to take other steps?
    • the ethical obligations of lawyers and judges
  • Instructor Bio

    Matthew Cooper

    Justice Matthew F. Cooper is a graduate of Hobart College in Geneva, New York, where he received his B.A., cum laude, in 1974. Following two years as a VISTA volunteer with Bronx Legal Services, he attended Antioch School of Law in Washington, D.C., where he earned his Juris Doctor in 1979. He then went on to practice in New York City for over 20 years, with his legal career focused on representing working people in union pre-paid legal services programs. In 2000, Justice Cooper was elected to the New York City Civil Court. In 2010 he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. As a Supreme Court Justice, his court room is in Manhattan, where he presides over divorce proceedings. Justice Cooper is a member of the New York County Lawyers Association, the New York City Bar Association (Matrimonial Committee) and the New York State Bar Association (Family and Matrimonial Law Section).


    Deborah Scalise

    Deborah A. Scalise is a partner in the firm SCALISE & HAMILTON LLP in Scarsdale, New York which focuses its practice on the representation of professionals (primarily lawyers and judges) in professional responsibility and ethics matters and white-collar criminal matters. Since 2002, Ms. Scalise has appeared before the Character and Fitness Committees, the New York State and Federal Grievance Committees and the Judicial Conduct Commission. Prior to 2002, Ms. Scalise was Deputy Assistant Attorney General in Charge of Public Advocacy for the Westchester Region for the NY Attorney General’s Office and handled cases involving consumer frauds, civil rights and public integrity matters. Before that, she was Deputy Chief Counsel to the Departmental Disciplinary Committee for the First Judicial Department where she investigated and litigated complex disciplinary matters. She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in Kings County, where she handled economic crimes and arson cases. Ms. Scalise earned a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School, a Bachelor of Arts Degree from John Jay College, CUNY and a Master of Arts Degree in Forensic Psychology from the John Jay College Graduate School, CUNY.

    In 2016, Ms. Scalise was appointed to the NYS Office of Court Administration CLE Board by Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. She also testified before the 2015 OCA State Commission on Professional Discipline with regard to attorney mental health issues. Her authored materials, entitled “Ethically Dealing with Clients, Witnesses and Attorneys with Diminished Capacity,” were annexed to the Commission’s Report that issued recommendations as to the unification of the New York State disciplinary process.

    Active in several bar associations, she is a member of the New York State Bar Association (NYSBA), where she Chaired the Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Committee for five years and serves as a member on the Attorney Professionalism Committee. She is a past Vice President of the Women's Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), serving on its Board of Directors and as Co-chair of its Professional Ethics Committee since 2000. She is a past President, Vice President and Treasurer of the Westchester Women's Bar Association (WWBA), Co-chairing its Grievance/Ethics Committee, and a past President and Treasurer of the White Plains Bar Association (WPBA). She serves as Outreach Co-chair for both the WPBA and the WWBA and is actively involved in educational programs, including “Take Your Children to Work Day”, “Law Day” and “Career Day". A member of the American Bar Association (ABA), she served on its Public Sector Lawyer's Division’s Ethics and CLE Committee. She is also a member of the New York County Lawyers Association (NYCLA), serving as a Board Member of its Ethics Institute. She served as the Westchester County Bar Association’s (WCBA) Co-chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee for two years. As a member of the New Rochelle Bar Association (NRBA), she serves as a Small Claims Court Arbitrator in the New Rochelle City Court. She is also a member of the Federal Bar Council (FBC), the New York State Trial Lawyers Association (NYSTLA), the Brooklyn Columbian Lawyers Association, the Westchester Columbian Lawyers Association and the Eastchester Bar Association.

    Ms. Scalise is a frequent CLE lecturer for the: Appellate Division, First, Second and Third Departments; NYS Judicial Institute; NYSBA; NYSTLA; Practicing Law Institute; WBASNY; NYCLA, WWBA; WCBA; WPBA; NRBA; FBC; Brooklyn Women's Bar Association; Rockland County Women's Bar Association; NYS Supreme Court Judges Association; NYS Magistrate’s Association; NYC Civil and Housing Court Judges; Association; Pace University Law School CLE Program; St. John's University Law School CLE Program; Fordham Law School CLE Program; CUNY Law School CLE Program; NY Civil and Criminal Trial Attorneys Association; NYS Association of Disciplinary Attorneys; and NY County Supreme Court Arbitrators.

    Ms. Scalise also volunteers as a Legal Advisor/Coach for Rye Neck High School, Westchester County/New York State Bar Association Mock Trial Competition (Spring 2017). In 2016, Ms. Scalise coached Pace Law School’s Team in the National Ethics Trial Competition Team at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California. She was an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School where she taught Professional Responsibility and Ethics; a faculty member of the Cardozo Law School Intensive Trial Advocacy Program; and a guest lecturer on professional responsibility and ethics at Brooklyn Law School, Columbia Law School, Cardozo Law School, Pace Law School and John Jay College.

    Ms. Scalise is a contributing author in “The Dementia Crisis” written by Robert Abrams, Esq., Editor, NYS Bar Association Journal, January 2017. She contributed a chapter to Oxford University Press’s The New York Rules of Professional Conduct: Opinions, Commentary, and Case Law, a treatise discussing ethical conduct, and frequently contributes articles related to professional responsibility and ethics issues for among others, the NYSBA Journal and State Bar News; the WBASNY and WWBA Newsletters; the WCBA Bar Journal; and the NYSTLA Bill of Particulars. In 2015 Ms. Scalise and her partner, Sarah Jo Hamilton were honored by NYCBA Lawyers Assistance Program (LAP) for their continued support and contributions to LAP. In 2014, the firm received the WWBA’s Family Friendly Award. In 2012, Ms. Scalise received WBASNY’s Marilyn Menge Award and in 2009 she received the Westchester County Above the Bar Pace Setter Award. She was the subject of a profile in the ABA's Student Lawyer Magazine in its February 2005 issue.


    Denise Colón-Greenaway

    Ms. Colón-Greenaway is Special Counsel for Court-Based Interdisciplinary Programs in the New York State Office for Justice Initiatives. As such, she serves as the Coordinator of NYC Civil Court-Housing Parts Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) Program. This Program recruits, trains, and provides NYC Housing Court judges with a pool of GALs whose goal is to safeguard the rights and prevent the eviction of physically and/or mentally impaired people appearing in Housing Court. Ms. Colón-Greenaway has presented at various national law conferences, training programs and bar association events seeking to inform judges, court attorneys, and legal practitioners about the role of GALs in Housing Court. In December 2016, Ms. Colón-Greenaway published a White Paper entitled, “Creating a Successful Court-Based Program to Safeguard Access to Justice for Elderly, Mentally, and Physically Impaired Litigants at Risk for Eviction” to highlight the need for court systems nation-wide to take the lead in creating a GAL program as a matter of judicial fairness.

    Aside from her duties as the GAL Program Coordinator, Ms. Colón-Greenaway is also the liaison between Civil Court-Housing Part and the NYC Department for the Aging as it relates to the Assigned Counsel Project, a partner program that provides free legal and social services to seniors facing eviction in Housing Court. Ms. Colón-Greenaway is also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Graduate School of Social Services where she has taught “Social Work and the Law” for the last four years.

    Ms. Colón-Greenaway received her undergraduate degree in Political Science from Yale University in 1992. She obtained her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University in 1995. Before pursuing her legal degree, Ms. Colón-Greenaway worked as an oncology and medical social worker for six years. Ms. Colón-Greenaway graduated from Rutgers University School of Law in 2003. She was a Court Attorney for Acting Supreme Court Judge Ruben Martino before being hired by Justice Fern A. Fisher to work directly with her overseeing the above-named programs. After Justice Fisher’s retirement, Ms. Colon-Greenaway began working for Deputy Chief Administrative Judge for Justice Initiatives, Edwina G. Mendelson.

  • States Approved