News Release

NACDLPress Publishes Just in the Nick of Time, by Denver, Colorado Defense Attorney David B. Savitz

Washington, DC (Sept. 28, 2021) - Today, NACDL’s publishing unit, NACDLPress, released Just in the Nick of Time, a timely story about the intersection of mental health and the law by Denver, Colorado attorney David B. Savitz. In his career spanning more than 50 years, one of Savitz’s most important contributions to the field of criminal defense has been his work defending clients with psychiatric disorders. This book tells the story of 19-year-old Ross Carlson, who is accused of killing his parents and is diagnosed with an unusual psychiatric disorder. Ross spends a torturous six years in the Colorado judicial and mental health systems before his case experiences an unexpected end.

As the reader learns in Just in the Nick of Time, the defense of clients with psychiatric disorders is not a path many choose to take. The work is hard, considering how much is still misunderstood by both the legal and mental health fields. But Savitz has a unique ability to guide his defense by the trust he builds with his clients. This trust is not easily obtained with someone suffering from a severe mental health disorder such as multiple personality disorder—it can sometimes take years to build. Savitz is uniquely equipped to do this because before deciding to become a lawyer, he spent his undergraduate years at Pennsylvania State University studying psychology. After his years at Penn State, Savitz obtained his J.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Throughout his years as an attorney, he has lectured on numerous topics including those related to the field of psychiatry and child abuse and has published articles on various topics related to mental health and the law, such as an in-depth analysis on the legal defense of persons diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, which was published in the psychiatric journal, Dissociation. Over the years, David Savitz has shown his commitment to his profession by continuously advocating for, and tirelessly defending, individuals whom much of society has written off. 

Just in the Nick of Time has all the makings of a classic true crime novel, but what sets it apart is the relationship that unfolds between defense lawyer and client. Unflinching and insightful, a masterful read about the difficulties of mental health issues, empathy and compassion for the client, and the frustrations encountered in our present day criminal legal system. The real power of this story is David’s unwavering kindness and compassion for his client, one whose impact clearly remains with him today,” said President of the NACDL Foundation for Criminal Justice and Past President of NACDL Lisa M. Wayne.

Just in the Nick of Time is one of the most profound cases of Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD), all told from the perspective of the person who interacted most with the personalities, his criminal defense lawyer David Savitz. Their personalities ranged from polite to vicious, from childish to streetwise. Some were so frightening that the treating doctors hesitated to engage with them. This is the true-life story of a young criminal defense lawyer defending a double homicide relying on a mental illness defense that much of the psychiatric community rejected as implausible or contrived,” said NACDL Past President Larry Pozner.

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Kate Holden, NACDL Public Affairs and Communications Associate, (202) 465-7624 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.

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