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Minding Justice

Minding Justice

Laws That Deprive People with Mental Disability of Life and Liberty

Christopher Slobogin

ISBN 9780674022041

Publication date: 04/15/2006

Minding Justice offers a comprehensive examination of the laws governing the punishment, detention, and protection of people with mental disabilities. Using famous cases such as those of John Hinckley, Andrea Yates, and Theodore Kaczynski, the book analyzes the insanity defense and related doctrines, the role of mental disability in sentencing, the laws that authorize commitment of "sexual predators" and others thought to be a threat to society, and the rules that restrict participation of mentally compromised individuals in the criminal and treatment decision-making processes.

Arguing that current legal doctrines are based on flawed premises and ignorance of the impairments caused by mental disability, Christopher Slobogin makes a case for revamping the insanity defense, abolishing the "guilty but mentally ill" verdict, prohibiting execution of people with mental disability, restructuring preventive detention, and redefining incompetency. A milestone in criminal mental health law, Minding Justice provides innovative solutions to ancient problems associated with criminal responsibility, protection of society from "dangerous" individuals, and the state's authority to act paternalistically.


  • With penetrating analysis and startling originality, Slobogin examines the underpinnings of mental health law, cutting across both criminal and civil domains, to propose a provocative restructuring of legal doctrine. This extremely well-written book is a superb example of interdisciplinary scholarship, combining philosophical, legal, and clinical insights in a new synthesis.

    —Bruce J. Winick, Professor of Law and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami


  • Christopher Slobogin is Milton Underwood Professor of Law and Professor of Psychiatry at Vanderbilt University.

Book Details

  • 396 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press