The eJournal is sponsored by the Syracuse University College of Law Disability Law and Policy (DLP) Program of the Syracuse University Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies (CHPLDS). The DLP Program sponsors a range of law school academic programs and co-curricular activities, including the first joint degree program in law and disability studies. The Program is part of the CHPLDS which is the first such university-wide network of academic programs, centers, student organizations, and affiliated faculty whose research, teaching, and advocacy promotes the rights of people with disabilities locally, nationally, and globally.

Table of Contents

Discrimination after the Human Genome Project

Julie Ann Davis, Texas Tech University School of Law

Reforming Mental Health Law to Protect Public Safety and Help the Severely Mentally Ill

David B. Kopel, Independence Institute, Denver University - Sturm College of Law
Clayton E. Cramer, College of Western Idaho
Carolyn J. Dobbins, Independent

Disabling Campuses: The Development and Outcomes of Nigerian Disability Policies

Abubakar Ahmed, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture
Zakaria Al-Cheikh Mahmoud Awad, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture
Mastura Adam, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture

Disabling Discipline: Locating a Right to Representation of Students with Disabilities in the Americans with Disabilities Act

Logan J. Gowdey, Columbia University, Law School, Students

Sponsored by Syracuse University Disability Law & Policy (DLP) Program

"Discrimination after the Human Genome Project" Free Download

JULIE ANN DAVIS, Texas Tech University School of Law

With the completion of the Human Genome Project, and the subsequent genomic research and medicine that has advanced, this work provides my hypothesis for the future of discrimination based on genetic information as a hybrid between discrimination based on disability and socio-economic status. I also provide several points where the law should advance itself in anticipation of increased discrimination.

"Reforming Mental Health Law to Protect Public Safety and Help the Severely Mentally Ill" Free Download
Howard Law Journal, Forthcoming

DAVID B. KOPEL, Independence Institute, Denver University - Sturm College of Law
CLAYTON E. CRAMER, College of Western Idaho

How to reduce gun violence, while respecting civil rights, including the Second Amendment? One such means is to provide much more help to people who suffer from severe mental illness. The biggest violence-reductive effect would be in diminishing the number of crimes against the mentally ill, who are disproportionately victimized.

Only a small minority of seriously mentally people commit violent crimes; but people with serious mentally illness people are significantly more likely to commit violent crimes than are people who are not seriously mentally ill. However, closer examination shows that seriously mental illness as a crime risk is mainly when that illness is accompanied by other risk factors, such as alcoholism, or unemployment. So helping seriously mental ill people improve their lives — such as by holding a steady job — will also have large crime-reducing effects. Helping people with untreated serious mental illness is a particularly relevant to reducing homicide and even more so for reducing mass attacks against strangers.

Reducing violence by and against persons with the severe mental illness does not require reducing the due process rights of anyone. As with severe physical illness, treatment provided by charitable or government programs can often help a severely ill person constructively participate in society.

Part I of this Article provides the definitions for some mental illnesses, as well as estimates of the numbers of people in the United States who suffer from these illnesses.

Part II examines the data about the relationship between severe mental illness and violent crime. Severe mental illness does raise the odds that a person will perpetrate a violent crime. But most often, the increased risk is not from the direct effect of the illness itself (such as hallucinations or delusions) but rather from other factors — such as developing a substance abuse problem, or being victimized — for which the seriously mental ill can be at particularly high risk. As Part II explains, seriously mentally ill people are much more likely to be crime victims than to be crime perpetrators, and the large majority of people who are seriously mentally ill never perpetrate violent crimes.

Part III examines the data on serious mental illness and homicide, especially mass homicide. At this extreme end of the criminality spectrum, the association between untreated severe mental illness and mass murder is overwhelming. The fraction of perpetrators who are severely mentally is grossly disproportionate to the small percentage of the population with severe mental illness.

Part IV explains current statutory and case law about when a person be deprived of the constitutional rights to arms, based on alleged mental illness. The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 imposes a lifetime firearms prohibition for any person who has been adjudicated mentally ill. More recently, due process protections have been somewhat improved, especially for persons who had a problem decades ago, and who have fully recovered.

Part V details the depressing results of the de-institutionalization movement of the latter part of the twentieth century. Today, prisons and jails house far more seriously mentally ill people than do mental institutions.

Part VI describes the social science research showing that broader laws on civil commitment have a large effect in reducing homicides. Part VI also explains that the number of available mental health beds (for either voluntary or involuntary treatment) is grossly insufficient. Fixing the problem will require a great deal of spending; the spending would be cost-effective in the long run, due to reduced crime and other maladies. Early detection and treatment often makes a huge difference.

Part VII explains the history of constitutional standards regarding civil commitment, and recent statutory reforms in Virginia and Wisconsin. We argue that states which currently require “imminent? danger for a mental health commitment should remove the imminence requirement, but should not weaken the due process requirements for short-term or long-term commitments.

Part VIII describes the mental health issues and the commitment laws which could have been used for the perpetrators of four recent, notorious mass murders: at the Washington Navy Yard, Tucson, the Aurora theater, and Newtown. In at least two of the cases, existing state laws could have authorized a commitment, but the people who knew about the danger failed to act.

Part IX summarizes state experiences with a relatively new form of commitment: involuntary outpatient commitment (IOC). Rather than being held in a mental institution, a person may be ordered by a court to undergo outpatient treatment. For some mentally ill persons, IOC works well, and is a less restrictive alternative to inpatient commitment.

"Disabling Campuses: The Development and Outcomes of Nigerian Disability Policies" Free Download
OIDA International Journal of Sustainable Development, Vol. 07, No. 10, pp. 73-84, 2014

ABUBAKAR AHMED, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture
ZAKARIA AL-CHEIKH MAHMOUD AWAD, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture
MASTURA ADAM, University of Malaya - Department of Architecture

The focus of this paper/study is to assess the accessibility of learning infrastructures and facilities of public educational institutions to students (living) with disabilities (SWD) in Nigeria. The objectives include examining the relevant policies on inclusive education system or program, identification of relevant buildings and infrastructures, determining the accessibility provisions in the buildings and the built environment and comparison of accessibility characteristics against the conventional standard. The study made on the basis of a case study approach and survey access audit checklist covers walking, visual and hearing impaired. The study found that accessibility to buildings and infrastructure in Nigerian Universities is poor and is worsening. Only the health buildings/centres/infrastructures are provided with ramps, definitely not because of the disabled but because of hospital stretchers. In this era of social integration, efforts should be made by policy makers and building and urban designers to incorporate all inclusive accessibility modes into planning and design of educational institutions to accommodate both able and the disabled for national development.

"Disabling Discipline: Locating a Right to Representation of Students with Disabilities in the Americans with Disabilities Act" Free Download

LOGAN J. GOWDEY, Columbia University, Law School, Students

This Note addresses a novel statutory solution to part of the problem by asking whether existing procedural protections in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) can be applied to restrict the diversion of disabled students from schools in suspensions and expulsions. The ADA claim will be analyzed under a theory that certain students with disabilities require accommodations in disciplinary proceedings to participate meaningfully in those hearings. The answer to this question depends both on the likelihood that courts and administrators will recognize a role for ADA protections in evaluating the appropriateness of diversionary school discipline for disabled youth and on the risk of overly judicializing schools in service of an only partial remedy that leaves nondisabled juveniles behind.


About this eJournal

Sponsored by: Syracuse University Disability Law & Policy (DLP) Program.

This eJournal distributes working and accepted paper abstracts which address issues of domestic, comparative, and international disability law and policy and disability studies, including  issues related to mental health and mental disability law and policy. The eJournal addresses legal issues, legislation, policy and a critical examination of disability as part of diversity in the US and in other societies throughout the world.


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