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Mental Health Practice Coordinator

The Mental Health Practice Coordinator covers mental health commitment (Ch. 51), guardianship and protective placement (Chs. 54 &55), and competency and mental responsibility (Ch. 971). Attorneys skilled in understanding mental health law can effectively represent clients against the barriers and stigma associated with mental health. The value of communication and trust with a client is important, especially in mental health law. Attorneys need to recognize that even though the client physically is present in court, mentally they may not be.
 
The stigma associated with mental health causes substantial liberty intrusions. Attorneys should be prepared to ensure the government is using the least restrictive methods, if any are necessary at all. We are here to provide resources to help clients remain in their home and retain autonomy over the body.
 
Mental health law requires both a legal and medical understanding. Doctor's may form medical opinions based on facts that are insufficient to reach a legal conclusion. We hope to provide resources on how to obtain and review records, seek an independent examiner, and cross-examine doctors.
 
With several recent appellate decisions, mental health law is rapidly changing. We hope this group will be a resource for understanding new decisions, brainstorming defenses, and providing materials and resources. Please share any motions, briefs, or information you have that would be helpful to mental health defense.

For more information, please contact the Mental Health Practice Coordinator:
Eric Heywood: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Eric Heywood began as a public defender in Green Bay and now works in Oshkosh. He often represents clients from nearby Winnebago Mental Health Institute and Wisconsin Resource Center, which furthered his interest in mental health, psychology, and cognition. Eric has experience litigating commitment, guardianship, competency, and NGI cases. Eric graduated from UW-Madison with a BS in Math and a JD, completed training at the National Forensic College, and previously served as an SPD Training Coordinator. He values protecting the dignity, liberty, and autonomy of our clients with mental illness against government overreach. Eric looks forward to developing materials, providing training, and consulting about mental health cases.