Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How Lawyers Kill the Homeless

Bravo to C.W. Nevius for his brave article exposing how advocates for the homeless wind up doing more harm than good. In this case, lawyers' efforts to prevent a homeless man from going to alcohol treatment played a role in his death. I don't have much to add to the article, other than to suggest you read it.


  1. Maybe you're not giving the lawyers enough credit here. Given the relapse rates for chronic alcoholics, maybe they really were doing what they thought would get him off the streets the quickest - in which case they succeeded.

  2. Just wanted to disassociate myself from this comment. The homeless need access to treatment for mental health and substance abuse, not a death sentence. I do think some homeless probably basically need to be "forced" into treatment, for public health reasons. I assume this is what the lawyers are fighting against.

  3. Well that was a joke, obviously. The reality is that defense lawyers have very little discretion - they represent their client's interest. In this case, it's a good bet that the client simply refused to go to treatment. What's a lawyer to do?