People v. McCollum

State: New York

Filed: December 20, 2018

Court: Supreme Court of the State of New York

Overview: The brief supported Darius McCollum, an adult with autism charged with unauthorized driving of city trains and buses. In an unprecedented decision, the lower court found that, based on his autism diagnosis, Darius met the criteria for a “dangerous mental disorder” and committed him to a psychiatric institution for the most violent offenders despite him never having committed a violent crime. The brief argued that this placement is wholly inappropriate for someone like Darius, who could thrive in the community with appropriate supports and services.

Excerpt: “The principle of community integration…enshrined in the Americans with Disabilities Act…requires public entities to avoid needless institutionalization of individuals with disabilities who can be served in community settings. Decades of research and experience compel the conclusion that community-based services deliver better outcomes for individuals who do not require institutionalization, and better serve the purpose of [state law] to balance individual rights and public safety.”

Status: The court denied the motion for leave to appeal without explanation.

Case Documents

Amicus Brief: People v. McCollum