People with dementia pose unique challenges.
Family, friends, defense counsel, and the courts may be dismayed by the fact that an older individual, particularly one who has up until this point, led a productive, law-abiding life, is now in trouble with the law.
The criminal justice system is not the place for someone with dementia. Jail, or worse, prison, would be absolute torture.
Someone in the early stages of dementia might seem competent (under the legal standard), but that could quickly change. And if someone is found incompetent, because of the progressive nature of their condition, they can never be restored under the legal definition.
A team of experts is needed to interview, test, conduct neuroimaging, and suggest appropriate placement. Probation may not be a good solution because an individual with dementia may not be capable of completing all the tasks required. Moreover, probation can place additional burdens on the primary caregiver.
The goal is to keep these vulnerable and sometimes volatile individuals from re-offending, as well as to treat them with humanity with due consideration given to their condition.
To read a chapter on Testing by Margaret S. Russell, Esq. and Dr. Robert Ouauo from Elizabeth’s book on Dementia, please click "Download File" to access the PDF linked below: