In the Matter of the Hospitalization of
Alaska Supreme Court Case No. S-15100
DG was taken to the Providence Alaska Medical Center Psychiatric Emergency room (Providence) by the police at 8:50 am on February 26, 2013 under AS 47.30.705, commonly referred to as a "Police Officer Application (POA), for a psychiatric evaluation after his father called saying he was suicidal. Connie Chevalier at Providence signed a Petition for Involuntary Commitment for Evaluation to the Anchorage Superior Court under AS 47.30.710, without notice to DG, which is called "ex parté" at about 3:15 that afternoon. Approximately 30 minutes later, the Probate Master signed an Order on Petition for Involuntary Commitment for Evaluation under AS 47.30.700, ordering DG to be taken to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) without giving DG any chance to tell his side of the story. It is important to recognize that DG disputes much of what is in these papers, but was never given a chance. On February 28th, at approximately 11:3 am, DG was discharged because API did not find that DG met commitment criteria.
PsychRights filed an appeal against Ms. Chevalier and Providence on the grounds that it is an unconstitutional denial of Due Process for the court to order someone to be taken to API without giving the person a chance to tell their side of the story in the situation where there are no emergency circumstances justifying denying the person notice and an opportunity to be heard because the person is already in custody. PsychRights filed the appeal against Ms. Chevalier and Providence because they filed the ex parté petition. PsychRights understands there are practical issues involved because Providence only has 24 hours to decide whether it believes further hospitalization is required. However, this does not justify conducting what is essentially a sham judicial proceeding. Jim Gottstein wrote about this in his 2008 Alaska Law Review article, Involuntary Commitment and Forced Psychiatric Drugging in the Trial Courts: Rights Violations as a Matter of Course, Section VI.B.
On February 7, 2014, the Alaska Supreme Court issued its
Opinion holding against D.G.
The Court held that
that having a neutral, disinterested judicial officer determine probable
cause ex parté at that point is likely to shorten confinement because
it would take additional time to allow notice and an opportunity to be
PsychRights'view of these ex parté proceedings is that they are no more than ministerial acts in most cases with no real scrutiny. A sham legal proceeding in other words. In PsychRights' view, the decision is an example of psychiatric defendants not receiving the rights everyone else gets. A petition for a writ of certiorari to the United States Supreme Court was considered, but it was ultimately decided not to proceed with it.
Last modified 4/2/2014
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