San Diego, CA, June 21, 2017 --(PR.com
)-- Judge Robert C. Coates, who served for 28 years as a Superior Court trail judge and spent years as a trial lawyer, knows about mental illness firsthand. He suffered a severe psychotic break after his second year of law school but managed to start recovering after three weeks in the neuropsychiatric unit at UCLA and eventually pass the California Bar Exam on the first try. In a new book released by Dog Ear Publishing, he shares stories he has collected about some unusual people he found in his courtroom, many of them affected by mental illness.
Told with a sense of humor, “Crazy People in Court” describes a cast of characters who share one thing in common: They have come into Coates’ courtroom. Some are crazy, and some are deluded, but all play their parts in the courtroom drama that can ensue in real life. Mental illness costs society mightily, the book’s preface says, noting that an estimated 1.2 million prisoners in state, local and federal custody exhibit mental issues.
The book relays stories about some of Coates’ more memorable cases as a lawyer and judge: a defendant who insisted on being called Sergeant Major Ninja, who lived under the delusion that he had served his country as a government agent on life-risking missions; a stalwart lawyer who successfully battles colon and lung cancer but begins to lose his memory thanks to so-called chemo brain; a defendant who does nothing but scream obscenities and death threats; and a drunk Gulf War veteran who fights a police horse.
The book has drawn praise for shedding light on the importance of mental health.
“With an enlightened touch of experience, candor and humor, Judge Coates has expertly illuminated a sensitive subject for public consumption and much in need of discussion as the discourse rages in America today about human dignity, rights and an efficacious legal process,” writes forensic psychologist Carl E. Englund.
Henry Waxman, former chairman of the Committee on Health in the House of Representatives, agrees. “Judge Robert Coates has again shone a light of reason onto a little-examined but important arena. His earlier book, ‘A Street Is not Home,’ was the beginning of interest in solutions to American homelessness. In ‘Crazy People in Court,’ Judge Coates reveals the wide variety of mental problems seen in our courts – and the great hope for recovery, for many.”
Coates had a high-profile career as a trial lawyer before his appointment to the bench. As an attorney, Coates found himself representing hundreds of mentally ill people. When he became a judge, it became natural for presiding judges to send him cases involving mental disorders. His book “A Street Is not a Home – Solving America’s Homeless Dilemma” won the 1991 American Psychiatric Society’s Advocacy Award. His 1984 poetry book sold more than 2,000 copies, and he has written law review articles and dozens of editorials and articles.
Coates helped found the San Diego Mayor’s Task Force on the Homeless in 1984 and served as president or chairman of dozens of community organizations. His San Diego Serial Inebriate Program is recognized by the federal Interagency Council on Homelessness as the “best practice” for dealing with any city’s chronic drunks, and he was chairman of the committee that created the downtown San Diego Substance Abuse Assessment Unit, which supervises convicted drunk driver to sobriety and safety. He was recently named a Distinguished Eagle Scout.
For additional information, please visit www.CoatesCrazyPeopleinCourt.com
Crazy People in Court
Robert C. Coates
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-4826-0 144 pages $15.95 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.
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