The West Palm Beach campus of Keiser University (KU) hosted a Law Day Symposium, a timely discussion of the problems faced by the criminal justice system as it struggles with the problems of the mentally ill. The problems facing law enforcement when they deal with the mentally ill is significant. Palm Beach County law enforcement, courts and attorneys, and mental health providers have worked together to solve many issues, but much work is still needed. Some of Palm Beach County’s leading advocates for reform and collaboration gathered together at KU to continue the dialogue in a public forum. The event took place on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. in the KU auditorium located at 2085 Vista Parkway in West Palm Beach.
This symposium, which addressed the criminal justice system and the mentally ill,was held in observance of National Law Day and had high-level featured speakers from the Palm Beach community. Speakers included The Honorable Circuit Court Judge Joseph Marx, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Gauger, Criminal Defense Attorney Michael Salnick, Esq., and Psychologist Lori Butts, Ph.D, J.D.
“Leading research indicates that as many as half of all in-custody deaths, relate to mentally ill individuals. This is a profound concern for every stakeholder interested in the safety of the community and equitable justice for those who are mentally ill. Keiser University is proud to continue the public dialogue, and hopefully promote scholarly interest among our students, in every discipline from Criminal Justice and Legal Studies, to Psychology and the Allied Health disciplines,” said Kimberly Lea, Campus President.
The moderators for the event were Gary Chapman, Program Department Chair for the Paralegal and Legal Studies programs, and Paul Zacks, faculty member for the Paralegal, Legal Studies, and Criminal Law programs. Chapman was a legal clerk in the United States Army and an attorney with the State of Florida for 12 years. Zacks was an attorney with the State of Florida for 37 years, 20 of which were spent as Chief Assistant State Attorney.
This event was free and open to the public. There was also a meet and greet with the featured speakers prior to the symposium beginning.