Law Project for Psychiatric Rights: PsychRights  


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Montana

[T]he proper role of the attorney is to "represent the perspective of the respondent and to serve as a vigorous advocate for the respondent's wishes."  Further: To the extent that a client is unable or unwilling to express personal wishes, the attorney should advocate the position that best safeguards and advances the client's interest. Additionally: In the courtroom, an attorney should engage in all aspects of advocacy and vigorously argue to the best of his or her ability for the ends desired by the client. (emphasis added, citations omitted)

What this means is that the lawyer has to advocate to the best of his or her ability for the ends desired by the client, unless the client can't say what he or she wants.  However, Mr. Gene Haire, the Executive Director of the Montana Board of Visitors is proudly on record as saying the Montana Board of Visitors does not follow the law as laid down by the Montana Supreme Court in K.G.F.   In that e-mail, Mr. Haire said the Montana Board of Visitors "has been a leader for 30 years in rational advocacy for people with mental illnesses in Montana," and then referred to the website of the Treatment Advocacy Center, which is on record that the the legal rights of people facing forced "treatment" orders get in the way of people having the "treatment" the Treatment Advocacy Center believes they should be forced to endure.  In other words, "rational advocacy" means something other than what the client desires, which is what the Montana Supreme Court required in K.G.F.  Thus, Mr. Haire has explicitly stated the Montana Board of Visitors is not following the law, i.e., is acting illegally.  Of course, it is the inmates at Montana State Hospital who suffer the consequences.

Jim Gottstein of PsychRights pushed very hard on behalf of one patient, resulting in a charge by Paulette Kohman, the attorney for the hospital, that he was engaging in the unauthorized practice of law (which would jeopardize his license to practice law).  Mr. Gottstein responded that he had not engaged in the unauthorized practice of law in Montana.  On February 28, 2005, Mr. Gottstein wrote a letter to the Chief Justice of the Montana Supreme Court about this and how Montana citizens' rights are being systematically violated in defiance of the Montana Supreme Court's orders regarding the representation of people in Montana facing forced "treatment."

Last modified 9/19/2016
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