Public defenders are a unique class of attorneys. They don't get paid much, and they don't get to choose their clients. Many of them are a bit demoralized and they don't do good work. This may be true in mental health courts even more than in other venues.
However Kane County, Illinois is lucky to have Sandra Blake. I've known Sandy for several years, and any time I've entered an appearance in mental health court in Elgin, she has been very cooperative and helpful. (I can't say the same for a couple guys in the PD's office in Cook County.)
The Director of Court Services at EMHC told me this morning that Sandy has been winning almost every forced drugging case recently. That is wonderful, because petitions for involuntary administration of psychotropic medication are most frequently a bluff, used by clinicians or administrators at EMHC to threaten patients into taking their meds "voluntarily". If the petitioners lose frequently enough, the threats will become less credible.
In 20+ years at facilities run by the Illinois Department of Human Services, I've never met a patient who liked psychiatric drugs. They generally take them "voluntarily" because they are threatened into it. Absent the legal coercion of involuntary commitment laws and the insanity defense, the medical specialty of psychiatry as we know it would wither completely away.
I would like to thank Sandy Blake for making it more difficult for psychiatrists to threaten patients with half a dozen security people forcibly holding them down as a nurse stabs a needle into their body and injects hated, debilitating, harmful drugs over their desperate, screaming protests.
Such a violent, dehumanizing scene is the precise reality of every court order for involuntary medication. Everyone tries to pretend otherwise, but in the end, psychiatry is a violent activity. The worst part is the pretense that it "helps", and the robotic public acceptance of that absurd pretense. If we had more public defenders like Sandy Blake in Illinois, we would be closer to ending this ugliness, which insults modern medicine as much as it demeans our justice system.
Psychiatria delenda est!