Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I'm On A Mission From God

If you saw The Blues Brothers, you know what I mean!  I need, immediately, every incident that you can find in the last few years in which a person with a mental illness problem committed a violent felony in Colorado.  If the news accounts give an indication of previous awareness of police, social workers, psychologists, physicians, or family members, that this person was mentally ill, even more important.

Please add them comments as here.  If you are a professional working in Colorado in the mental health field, please email me pronto.  I need to pick your brain for state-specific aspects of the system.  And I need it now.  I'm taking Thursday, and maybe Friday off to get a concrete proposal for reform of Colorado law in this area put together; this will be presented by someone who is very connected with the people that matter in Colorado state government.

I am reading through Colorado mental health statutes right now.  The next step will be a review of all Colorado case law that addresses questions of involuntary commitment, burden of proof for such commitment, and liability for such commitment by both private and public officials.  If you have access to Lexis, great.  If not, makes a surprisingly effective substitute.  As you find case law that is relevant to these questions, please add it to the comments.

It appears that Colorado, like most states, has largely demolished their state mental hospital system, substantially reducing capacity in the last few years--although this may be because of reluctance to use what the law already allows.  (Colorado is apparently not as stringent as some states on at least observational holds.)

12-43-218 prohibits disclosure of confidential communications from a patient, although acknowledging that "other disclosures required by law" may still happen.  At least, it ought to make it clear that the Tarasoff requirements are one of the exceptions, and I can think of some others to add to the list.

C.R.S. 27-65-102(9)'s definition of "gravely disabled" looks like it was cribbed from New York's Kendra's Law, which was designed to keep the jackals at the ACLU at bay, but for people suffering sudden schizophrenic collapses (as appears to be the case with Holmes), it is a serious problem.  As well as making it less likely that schizophrenics will receive the early and consistent treatment required to have any hope of making a meaningful difference in long-term care.

1 comment:

  1. While I am sure you will come up with lots of cases, do not limit your search to Colorado - people travel to other places, and commit craziness there.

    There was some guy from CO who went after the Bill Of Rights (behind bulletproof glass) in the National Archives in DC with an ax. I suspect he was mentally ill. This must have been twenty years ago, or more, but I am sure that there have been others who crossed state lines.

    I recall reading something about the Columbine Kids (Harris and Kliebold) fell through the cracks because they were able to prop each other up most of the time - a symbiotic mental illness balancing act.