Mental Health Court

Public Defender Staff


The Stanislaus County Public Defender has been an integral part of Stanislaus County’s Mental Health Court since its inception. Mental Health Court is an alternative form of justice focused on the collaborative process of rehabilitation. Instead of imposing incarceration, Mental Health Court enables clients to receive treatment, connect with local services, and resolve their cases.

The court is focused on individuals who have become judicially involved primarily due to their mental health crises. Clients with a co-occurring diagnosis of substance abuse may be eligible for either Mental Health Court or Drug Treatment Court. Mental Health Court provides an individualized treatment plan for each client based on their diagnosis and response to treatment.

Before each court session, the client’s treatment team meets with the court and attorneys from the Public Defender’s Office to discuss each client’s progress, potential sources of concern, and goals for advancing through the program. During the court appearance, the client and Public Defender engage in an active non-adversarial conversation with the Court and treatment team about their progress. The entire collaborative process seeks to empower individual independence and results in dismissal of their cases.