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A path to healing and restarting for suspects with psychological illness

Recently, the San Diego Union-Tribune released a series of reports reviewing several cases with the common thread of suspects suffering from mental health issues. Yuhao Du's case was mentioned in this report, and his mother was also interviewed by the journalist.

Many people suffer greatly from mental illness, yet our society has not given it sufficient awareness and understanding.

As Yuhao Du's attorney, we understand that there were underlying mental health issues behind his behavior.

Yuhao Du had not shown any signs of violent tendencies prior to this incident. In fact, he is known to his friends as a friendly and helpful person. Every court hearing on his case gathers a group of people who know him through school or through volunteering activities. When the shooting incident took place, many of his friends and neighbors immediately came to us to talk about how immensely heartbroken they were about what happened to Yuhao, and how they could never expect this. As an attorney, I have to say, this is quite unique. I don’t see this kind of kind support from multiple friends very often.

Clearly, Yuhao throughout his life has not been a person willing to engage in violence of any sort. His behavior during and after the incident was extremely unusual. Something caused this extreme change. During the police investigation, he stated that a voice told him to crash his car and to attempt to take the gun.

We delved deeper and found that he had a family history of mental illness and was separated from his mother at an early age, all of which may have influenced his mental health and may have led to dramatic changes in his mental state and abnormal behaviors at certain times.

For such suspects who commit crimes due to psychological problems, they may spend many years if not all of their lives in prison if convicted; but if we can prove that these abnormal actions were done under the influence of psychological problems that prevented the person from understanding what’s going on around them or from having control of their actions, then they will have the opportunity to receive medical treatment instead of time in prison.

We believe that under our legal system, everyone has the right to justice and the opportunity for rehabilitation.

As their defense attorneys, we will actively cooperate with the court and other relevant institutions to ensure that they understand how mental health problems affect the defendant’s actions; that our clients receive necessary psychological health care and treatment. We will do our best to fight for legal results that are favorable to them, such as mental health diversion, mental health treatment, reduced sentences, probation, not only for their own sake but also

for their future contribution to society.

For the report, please refer to: