19 Sep Bob Perske Speaks from the Gallery
We were honored to have the National Criminal Defense Forum on Forensic Mental Health and the Law opened with a keynote speech by Bob Perske. Mr. Perske has devoted his life to being an advocate for vulnerable people. He underscored the importance of the conference topics through three powerful examples of wrongfully prosecuted people: Joe Arridy who was sent to the gas chamber in 1939 and posthumously pardoned in 2011, Richard LaPointe who is in currently in prison and Tyler Sanchez who was exonerated in 2010.
These individuals with mental and intellectual disabilities were subjected to police interrogation and signed confessions to crimes that they did not commit. Mr. Perske provided a list of 20 vulnerabilities that lead to false confessions by people with mental impairment. He urged the audience to make the showing of videotaped confessions to the judge and jury in cases involving defendants with mental impairment mandatory. Mr. Perske’s passion is genuine and infectious. His keynote speech was the perfect way to kick off our groundbreaking Forum.
Iris Eytan is a Partner at Reilly Pozner LLP. She practices Criminal Defense with an emphasis in mental health defenses.