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 you are approached
by the police:

  1. Don't Run

  2. Show your ID

  3. Ask for an Attorney

  4. Sit Down and Shut-Up1

Across the United States, persons with cognitive and communication disabilities are routinely denied their due process rights in all aspects of the American legal system.  Since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990, this denial has been compounded by the failure of the legal system to provide communication/comprehension accommodation for persons with cognitive and communication disabilities.

Having provided criminal justice advocacy to individuals for over 25 years, the Association for Community Advocacy (ACA) remains committed to changing the tide of this reality.  With funding from the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Council, ACA has produced Equal Justice: A Self-Advocapy Workbook as one of a growing number of grassroots efforts to address this unconscionable denial of rights.

'As perfectly put by Kansas People First.

Equal Justice: A Self-Advocacy Workbook
is a collaborative effort between the Association for Community Advocacy, the Developmental Disabilities Institute of Wayne State University, and the National Advisory Group for Justice.  This collaborative brought together self-advocates from across the United States and legal advisors and represents countless hours of effort on behalf of all persons with cognitive and communicative disabilities. 

The manual is divided into two separate parts.

  1. Section One: Equal Justice

  2. Section Two: Resources

Section One:

       Equal Justice is a curriculum that serves as a primer for persons with cognitive and communication disabilities and their friends, family members, staff persons and other professionals.  Section One takes the reader through the stages of the criminal justice process and seeks to equip each person with necessary tools to stay out of or successfully negotiate through the criminal justice system.

Equal Justice describes the stages of the criminal justice system, chapter by chapter.  Each chapter details a particular stage in the criminal justice process and discusses strategies that persons with disabilities can use to advocate for their legal rights.  Each chapter has been designed to "stand-alone" so that Equal Justice can be used in many ways. 

Ideas for  using the workbook as

An instructional aid at:

  • People First meetings

  • Individual meetings between a person and his/her supporters

  • Weekly meeting between interested children and their families

    A reference manual:

  • Housed at administrative offices of an organization

  • On loan to public defenders

  • Criminal defense attorneys

  • Local advocacy organizations


Section Two:

Resources contains relevant books, articles, internet sources, trainers and advocates who are committed to protecting the rights of people involved with the criminal justice system.

If you like the manual or if you would like to suggest changes or improvements, we are very interested in your feedback.  We are also interested in any stories you can share about the experiences of real people who were able to benefit from this information - or who suffered because they lacked it. 

To share this information, please contact ______________ .

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