Schohorr's Bipolar Case Studies

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Schorr’s case demonstrates that some courts do not agree on how to apply the ADA and may extend the ADA to involuntary commitment orders. Schorr had a bipolar disorder. His family and roommate requested Schorr be involuntarily committed. An order was issued, police officers apprehended Schorr, and took him to a hospital. Schorr escaped from the hospital and returned home. The same officers went to his house where a violent confrontation began and the officers shot and killed Schorr.
Schorr’s estate claimed that the police department failed to make reasonable accommodations to their policies, practices, and procedures to ensure Schorr’s disability needs were met. The court stated that there is nothing in the ADA, regulations, or history that
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Police are routinely cast into conditions in which they have to recognize and quickly adapt to situations involving mentally ill suspects. This may be the reason police officers are known as “streetcorner psychiatrists, de facto mental health service providers, or psychiatrist in blue.” Some studies report that ten percent of all police contacts are with people with a serious mental illness. Other studies report that people with a serious mental illness represent six to eight percent of all state prisoners, while other data claims that over half of state prisoners have a serious mental illness. Further, people with a serious mental illness will spend more time incarcerated than people who do not have a serious mental illness. In all, police officers are the gatekeepers to the criminal justice and sometimes to the mental health systems; thus, they should have adequate CIT training to aid them in distinguishing criminal behavior from psychosis…show more content…
However, it would not be fair to the parties involved and not appropriate for this paper. Instead, police departments can avoid litigation if they change their policies and procedures to adopt the ADA into CIT training, which CIT does, and have all field officers complete CIT training. CIT training should include wrongful arrest theory and reasonable accommodations theory. Wrongful arrest liability may be avoided if police officers routinely ask “are you disabled or have mental illness” questions or have some means to communicate those questions. Minus exigent circumstances, reasonable accommodations should be made for people with a serious mental illness. Reasonable accommodations can include: police officers giving the person suffering from a mental illness the opportunity to take his or her medication, not showing force by drawing a firearm, referral or transportation to a treatment facility, respecting comfort zones, engaging in non-threatening communications, using time to defuse the situation, engaging in conversation, using alternative force, or creating opportunities for these to occur. Everything the CIT program already encompasses appears to make reasonable accommodations for people with a mental illness.
For plaintiffs, the first and third prongs of an ADA claim are easy to prove. Courts are undecided

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