ASU’s 8th Biannual Law and Neuroscience Conference

Mental Health and the Courts

Mental Health and the Courts: What Can New Science and Technologies Offer?

December 9, 2022

Sandra Day O’Connor U.S. Courthouse, District of Arizona 

401 W Washington St, Phoenix, AZ 85003

8:308:45 a.m.


The Honorable Roslyn Silver (U.S. District Court Arizona) 

Betsy Grey (Jack E. Brown Chair of Law, Arizona State)

8:4510:15 a.m.

Panel 1: The Neurobiology of Mental Disorders 

Science is developing improved tools to diagnose, prognosticate, and treat mental health disorders. This panel will give an overview of the neurobiology of mental disorders, including more common mental health issues like depression, anxiety, psychosis, and addiction. It will also address how medicine has begun to take advantage of big data for diagnoses and treatments of illnesses.  

Moderator: Dr. Cynthia Stonnington (Consultant, Department of Psychiatry & Psychology, Mayo Clinic; Professor of Psychiatry, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science)

Dr. Consuelo Walss-Bass (Professor and John S. Dunn Foundation Distinguished Chair, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston)

Dr. Justin Baker (Co-Director, McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School)

Dr. Daniel Barron (Director, Pain Intervention & Digital Research Program, Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School; Author, Reading Our Minds: the Rise of Big Data Psychiatry)

10:15 – 10:30 a.m.


10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Panel 2: Implementation in the Court System

Mental health issues frequently arise in many judicial proceedings, in both criminal and civil settings. How can advances in the ability to diagnose and treat mental illness be implemented in the judicial system? Use of neuroimaging and other tools could have important psychological, discriminatory, and legal consequences, raising challenging legal, ethical, and policy issues. 

Moderator: Judge Bruce R. Cohen (Presiding Judge of the Family Department, Maricopa County Superior Court)

Don Jacobson (Senior Special Projects Consultant, Arizona Supreme Court)

Tess Neal (Associate Professor of Psychology, Founding Director of ASU’s Future of Forensic Science Initiative) and Elizabeth Mathers (Co-author and graduate student, Arizona State)

Sue McMahon (Associate Clinical Professor of Law, Arizona State)

12:00– 1:00 p.m.

Keynote: Thomas Insel, MD 

Dr. Justin Baker (Co-Director, McLean Institute for Technology in Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School)

Thomas Insel, MD (Co-Founder and Executive Chair, Vanna Health; Author, Healing: Our Path from Mental Illness to Mental Health 

1:001:45 p.m.


1:453:15 p.m.

Panel 3: Managing Mental Health

The development and use of mental health apps and other technologies to manage mental health have continued to grow, with increases spurred by the pandemic. This panel will address how these devices can help people and institutions outside of the court system, such as parents and schools, while addressing significant questions on surveillance, privacy, liability and consent. 

Moderator: Dr. Elizabeth Leonard (Neurocognitive Associates)

George Poste, DVM, PhD (Regents’ Professor and Del E. Webb Chair in Health Innovation, Co-Director, ASU-UA Institute for Future Health)

Dr. Randy Otto (Associate Professor, College of Psychology, Nova Southeastern University)

Dr. Michael Riddle (Associate Chief Medical Officer, RI International)

3:153:30 p.m.


3:305 p.m.

Panel 4 Roundtable: Mental Illness and the Courts

This roundtable, drawing from different perspectives, will discuss how litigants with mental disorders currently fare in the judicial system.

Moderator: Ashley Oddo (Director, Academy for Justice, Arizona State)

Judge Steven Leifman (Miami-Dade County Court)

Fredrica Strumpf (Deputy Public Defender, Maricopa County Public Defender)

Comm. Sarah E. Selzer (Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County)

Josephine M. Jones (Director, Maricopa County Public Fiduciary)

Elaine Nelson (Community Speaker)