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Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, October 4, 2005

NYLS CrimProf Perlin Honored

Michael_perlin_2_2 CrimProf Michael Perlin (New York Law School) has been paid tribute in the form of the San Diego Law Review article, ""Pursuing Justice for the Mentally Disabled,"" by Professor Grant H. Morris of the University of San Diego School of Law (42 San Diego L. Rev. 757 (2005)). Professor Morris’’s article, is a response to Professor Perlin’’s law review article, ""‘‘And My Best Friend, My Doctor / Won’’t Even Say What It Is I’ve Got’’: The Role and Significance of Counsel in Right to Refuse Treatment Cases,"" 42 San Diego L. Rev. 735 (2005). Professor Morris’’s spirited discussion of the role of lawyers’’ competence in individual right-to-refuse-treatment cases concludes with this paragraph:

The failure of lawyers, judges, psychiatrists, and society to treat mentally disabled people as people, that is, to treat them with dignity and respect, has left me dejected, depressed, even despondent. As Bob Dylan wrote, in a line that Michael quoted in his article, "I don't have the strength / To get up and take another shot."  But not so for Michael Perlin. He remains defiant, determined, and most of all, devoted. Just like Don Quixote de la Mancha, this gallant knight remains dedicated to his cause. He continues to speak, and to write, and to hope. He pursues justice for the mentally disabled. Although we do not hear him and do not heed him, he will continue his quest. The windmills that Michael contests are not mere figments of his imagination. They are real and continuing problems. Michael is an irresistible force. But our attitude--our prejudice--toward the mentally disabled may well be an immovable object. How long will Michael continue to speak in a forest, while we hear only "sounds of silence" ? Or as Bob Dylan inquired: "[H]ow many ears must one man have / Before he can hear people cry?"  [Mark Godsey]

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