Law Project for Psychiatric Rights: PsychRights  

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H.R. Appeal
Alaska Supreme Court Case No. S-15793
Supreme Court Opinion

On January 29, 2016, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled in H.R.'s favor, holding that the required screening investigation must include interviewing the respondent if reasonably possible.


Following years of deteriorating relations between Appellant, H.R. and other owners in her condominium project and its association's board of directors, her condominum association filed a petition to have H.R. hospitalized for psychiatric evaluation without notice.  Instead of conducting or ordering the screening investigation mandated by AS 47.30.700(a), or considering whether it was the least restrictive alternative as required by the United States and Alaska constitutions, the Court issued an Ex Parté (no notice) Order and H.R. was taken into custody by the police for confinement at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute for psychiatric evaluation.  There was no testimony regarding any immediate threat, other than perhaps the fear that H.R.'s dog might harm someone, which fear was not new.  H.R. was thus subjected to being picked up by the police without any notice and delivered for confinement at the Alaska Psychiatric Institute for psychiatric evaluation without having a chance to present her side, and without there being any reason for H.R. not being allowed to tell her side. 

PsychRights appealed on H.R.'s behalf and argued the Ex Parté Order should be invalidated because the Court did not follow AS 47.30.700(a)'s mandate that prior to such an order being issued, the Court must conduct or order a screening investigation.  The required screening investigation includes interviewing the person, if possible.  PsychRights also argued the issuance of the Ex Parté Order should be invalidated because it violated Due Process as there was no justification under the constitutions of the United States and State of Alaska for not giving H.R. notice of the petition and an opportunity to tell her side.  In addition, PsychRights argued the Ex Parté Order should be invalidated because the Court failed to consider whether its issuance was the least restrictive alternative.  Finally, PsychRights argued the testimony at the ex parté hearing was insufficient to grant the Ex Parté Order.

Oral Argument was held September 15, 2015, and the Alaska Supreme Court issued its Opinion, January 29, 2016.  The Supreme Court ruled that the order of involuntary evaluation was improper because the court did not try to interview H.R. 

                          Oral Argument

Court Documents

Last modified 2/13/2016
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