On June 27, 2018, Governor Jerry Brown signed a massive budget trailer bill that included multiple policy changes and provisions, including the controversial Mental Health Diversion Law, that lawmakers wanted to quietly slip into the budget. This law allows judges, at their discretion, to order mental health treatment in lieu of prosecution. Various politicians, prosecutors, and media personalities have harshly criticized this law, claiming that it’s going to grant freedom and special privileges to murderers and rapists based on their mental health issues.
However, this law exists to provide alternative case resolutions to clients with legitimate mental health concerns. According to The San Diego Union Tribune, “This law is intended to steer people with mental health conditions into treatment and away from jail or prison. It gives judges discretion to order defendants into a pretrial diversion program for treatment instead of prosecution.” In fact, our founding attorney, George Gedulin, is responsible for helping one of our clients become the first person to ever benefit from California’s new law.
The First Case
On April 7, 2018, Matthew Gioia led Carlsbad police on a one-mile pursuit before crashing his Hyundai Elantra. What should have been an open-and-shut felony case turned into California’s first chance to utilize the Mental Health Diversion Law. Attorney Gedulin researched Gioia’s tragic history of schizophrenia and explained to the court that his client is currently receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Carlsbad. According to Attorney Gedulin, “I think this case was exactly the kind of case the law was written for.”
Many legal representatives have failed to properly utilize this defense option in the past. Attorney Gedulin claims that, “Most people are submitting statements of diagnoses, and that’s it.” George Gedulin, on the other hand, presented a detailed treatment plan and had a doctor testify about the diversion program.
Thanks to Attorney Gedulin and Superior Court Judge Harry Elias, Matthew Gioia is currently receiving treatment for his schizophrenia. Gioia reports back to the judge on a regular basis, and his charges will be completely dropped if his treatment plan is considered a success within the next two years.
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The Law Office of George Gedulin exclusively defends the rights of the criminally accused in both state and federal courts. Our team is comprised of two San Diego criminal defense attorneys with over 30 years of collective legal experience. By researching and scrutinizing all aspects and angles of your case, we can devise a litigation strategy that secures a positive case outcome.
We provide legal assistance 24/7. Contact the Law Office of George Gedulin at (858) 281-4605 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.