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OfflinePhred
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights?
    #2345937 - 02/17/04 03:37 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I have my own thoughts on this (when do I not?), but I'd like to see a few days' worth of comments from the rest of the readers here before adding mine.

http://www.cnn.com/2004/LAW/02/17/mentally.ill.law.ap/index.html

Assume you're the judge on this case. What's your ruling and the argument supporting it? You need not necessarily cite past case law on the topic, but there must be some logic to your case -- emotionalism alone doesn't cut it.

pinky


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OfflineTheOneYouKnow
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Re: Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights? [Re: Phred]
    #2346545 - 02/17/04 06:09 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Quote:

pinksharkmark said:
Assume you're the judge on this case. What's your ruling and the argument supporting it? You need not necessarily cite past case law on the topic, but there must be some logic to your case -- emotionalism alone doesn't cut it.





This article doesn't give me enough information to really make a decision, since it doesn't define some terms. I'll go through paragraph by paragraph tho, tell ya my thoughts.

Quote:


ALBANY, New York (AP) -- The state's highest court on Tuesday upheld "Kendra's Law," which allows caseworkers, family members and even roommates to seek a court order to force a mentally ill patient to comply with treatment.



"comply with treatment" is the thing that I'd like to have cleared up. Since no psychiatrist or psychologist would ever assert that they are 100% correct and they acknowledge that one professional's opinion could differ from anothers opinion, I don't think that the state could say what is, objectively, THE best treatment for the person to comply to. If my state-appointed doctor wants me to take medicines that zonk me out and make me have a lethargic, stoned feeling all of the time, should I be compelled to do so? I'd say only if I'd been sentanced to the treatment as part of a court proceeding. If I had, for example, been sentanced to see a specific therapist and follow their treatment plan, then I would be compelled by the law to do so. However, that isn't what this law is going after. This law would, from what it says, allow anyone who knows you well to get a court order that you must follow the subjective opinion and treatment plan that your doctor outlines for you.


Quote:


Lawyers for another mental patient, identified only as K.L., argued the law, which took effect in 2000, is unconstitutional because it violated patients' due process protections. K.L., who suffers from a bipolar disorder, had a history of hospitalizations and refusal to take medication.



I think that KL has a point. Due process must be followed. If I think my therapist is a horses-ass,and I stop seeing him because of that and in conjunction I stop taking my medicine, why should the courtb e called upon to forceable make me? If I haven't been convicted of a crime yet, they shouldn't have that right. If I have been convicted, then this law isn't applicable, because the conviction and court order issued then would dictate treatment and adherence to treatment.

Quote:

Attorneys argued the treatment can't be forced unless the patient is mentally incapacitated. They also argued that it was unconstitutional to detain patients who refuse to take their medication for up to 72 hours without a hearing.



Incapacitated is again a relative term. Who is to decide? If taking my Zoloft made me friendlier and more happy around my family, but I disliked that feeling and stopped taking it and thus, was not as friendly, would they have a right to demand that I follow treatment? Would that show my "incapacitation"? The 72 hour thing I also have a problem with. Most states allow a policeman to put you in "confinment" (Read: Jail) for up to 72 hours for a mental review. Putting someone in jail for three days without cause to have a person paid by the government come in and give you a trite little 45 minute questionnaire is NOT proper medical procedure.

Quote:

n its 6-0 decision, written by Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the court said the law was an effort to enable mentally ill persons to lead more productive and satisfying lives, "while at the same time reducing the risk of violence."



Their is a huge difference between "enabling" them to, and compelling them to. Enabling them is opening a door to a therapists office, compelling them to is forcing them to go in and take whatever snake oil they are currently being paid by a pharmacutical company to push onto people.



If a person has been violent in the past, they should have been prosecuted or treated then. To come to a judge and request an order demanding treatment for a person citing past violent behvaior would be like asking them for a sentance against that person. You need to be PROVEN guilty before a punishment can be levelled against you. In the case of the mentally ill, I don't think that they should be, at the bequest of a parent/friend/roommade, forced to comply with a treatment plan. I'd rather have the very infrequent, and quite tragic, incident occuring where the lady was pushed under the train, occuring, rather than having every pissed off parent forcing their kids to take medicines that they don't want to.

Bottom line: IF their actions are so bad that they should be compelled to comply with treatment, they should be prosecuted and the judge should sentance them to such treatment. If they fail to comply with the court-ordered treatment, they are in violation of their probation. However, without this court-order or some sort of due process where the facts were shown before a disinterested party and a judgement was made, I don't agree with this. Again, I'd have to see MUCH MUCH more about the law before I could make this my final answer.


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Anonymous

Re: Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights? [Re: Phred]
    #2347536 - 02/17/04 10:33 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

i'd have struck down that law. under the law, it's possible to keep innocent people in involuntary confinement. it's not a crime to be insane.

the law doesn't even say (as far as i can tell) that the person must be dangerous, and even if it did, a person with no history of violence shouldn't be incarcerated just because some people (who needn't have any qualifications to judge such a thing) think that their mental condition might cause them to become violent at some point in the future.

In its 6-0 decision, written by Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the court said the law was an effort to enable mentally ill persons to lead more productive and satisfying lives, "while at the same time reducing the risk of violence."

the attitude seems to be that "reducing the risk of violence" is merely a pleasant side-effect of the policy. this is more about locking people up "for their own good" than protecting anyone.

:thumbdown:


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InvisibleDoctorJ
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Registered: 06/30/03
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Re: Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights? [Re: Phred]
    #2347539 - 02/17/04 10:35 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

I would have ruled that the law in question is unconstitutional, though I don't think that the constitution has anything to say about this. 

I cant really come up with any legal basis for rejecting this, but as a student and follower of psychology and neuroscience, I dont like it one bit.  And here's why:

The diagnostic procedures for mental illness are flawed at best.  Not only that, but if we were to let the government to decide who is sane and who isnt, it would require a much higher burden of proof that might be detrimental to the clinical aspect.  Not to mention the ramifications of basically institutionalizing the concept of thoughtcrime.  Forcing medication down the throats of people who may or may not need it is a bad job, and the fact that it would be the government doing it is even worse.  I think it would very quickly become horribly corrupted, and even in the hands of the private sector its already corrupt as hell. 


Quote:

In its 6-0 decision, written by Chief Judge Judith Kaye, the court said the law was an effort to enable mentally ill persons to lead more productive and satisfying lives, "while at the same time reducing the risk of violence."





That is a fuckin joke, but I ain't laughing. :frown:

phenzothiazines and neuroleptic drugs are not pleasant.  The diagnosis and treatment process is ongoing.  there is no universal cure for shcizophrenia; different things work for different people.  The government should not be involved in this.


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OfflineFrog
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Re: Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights? [Re: Phred]
    #2347788 - 02/17/04 11:57 PM (12 years, 9 months ago)

The law has to be reasonable to pass "due process" muster. What is "reasonable"? I think simply forcing someone who has never shown a tendency to be a danger to others shouldn't be forced to take medication, regardless of the harm the individual causes to himself.

However, at what cost to society? If someone cannot lead a productive life because of a failure to take medication, such as inability to maintain a job, should society support the individual? Or does the individual suffer the consequences of his inability to maintain a job and go homeless, of which we see so many?

If the individual presents a harm to others, I think due process concerns are satisfied and the individual should be forced to medicate. But factors should be taken into consideration, such as severity of the illness, the type of illness, likelihood of causing harm if suffering from the certain type of illness.


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The day will come when, after harnessing the ether, the winds, the tides, gravitation, we shall harness for God the energies of love. And, on that day, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.  -Teilard


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OfflinePhred
Fred's son
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Registered: 10/19/00
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Last seen: 1 year, 10 months
Re: Is this a dilemma for advocates of individual rights? [Re: Phred]
    #2348757 - 02/18/04 05:28 AM (12 years, 9 months ago)

Excellent posts so far! Some sharp thinkers here.

I'd like to see a few more opinions before I add my own.

pinky


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