Self - Advocacy Workbook


Chapter 1
Advocacy, Preparations & Strategies

1-1 Introduction
1-2 Police Contact
1-3 Arrest
1-4 Arraignment
1-5 PreTrial    
1-6 Trial


Chapter 2

2-1 Aiding & Abetting
2-2 Conspiracy
2-3 Delivery of Controlled Substance






When an individual is approached by a police officer, often intimidation by the police officer plays a key role in getting the individual to admit responsibility for a crime.  This intimidation sometimes extends to supports coordinators or family members of a person with a disability.  As such, we must be particularly careful not to give up a person's rights.

The Right Rules make it clear that:

Individuals should not say anything to the police
after showing their IDs
(or giving their name and address)
and asking for a lawyer.

       But what if you are a family member, supports coordinator or group home staff, and the police call or visit you looking for someone with whom you live/work?  What should your response be?

First, do no harm!

This means that unless the officer is stating an intent to arrest the person, you should not present the person to the police.

  1. DO NOT put the person on the phone with the police

  2. DO NOT take the person down to the police station

  3. DO NOT bring the person to the door to talk to the police officer.

It is okay legally to tell a police officer you choose
not to talk, and, by far, the best protection of
your rights is to do so.

Even though it may feel scary to say "NO", it is not only legally permissible, it is mandatory when you risk giving up someone else's rights.

Perhaps the easiest way to deal with being contacted by a police officer is to simply and immediately refer them to the person's lawyer.  In our community, we have arranged with a local lawyer to take these initial calls, etc., from the police and s/he is the one to tell the officer that his/her client has nothing to say to the officer.  If the police have enough information about the person to warrant an arrest, then the officer can simply arrest the person and put the legal process in motion.  If they do not have enough information to warrant an arrest, then typically the matter is dropped or the police will continue their investigation elsewhere.

Written by: Melissa King, Attorney-at-Law,  King Law Offices; Karen Wolf-Branigin, Wayne State University, Developmental Disabilities Institute; Rachel Pinsky Law Graduate, Wayne State University; Robert Lasker, Belinda Land, Vendalia Collins, Cheryle Trommater, Marsha Katz,
The project staff extend our sincere appreciation to the over 50 people who generously donated their time, support and expertise to the Equal Justice initiative.  Though we cannot thank everyone individually, we particularly acknowledge the following groups and individuals.
The Curriculum Design Board who identified competencies, reviewed materials and curriculum drafts: Jeanice Dagher-Margosian, Michelle James-Mann, Florence Kozak, Gary Margosian, Mark Ptaszek, Penny Ryder, Donna Sabourin, Jim Soden, Bob Stein, Ted Wybrecht
The field test participants and field site coordinators who attended the training in the very earliest stages: Sarah Irvine. People First of Oakland Count

First Edition Spring 1998 --
Equal Justice is a collaborative partnership between Washtenaw Association for Community Advocacy and Wayne State University Developmental Disabilities Institute.  This material was developed and disseminated with funding from the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council Grant 96620