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    The Road to Tyranny by Don Jans

    Newsom Gets His Court

    By Emily Hoeven

    Now the hard work begins.

    So said Gov. Gavin Newsom at a Wednesday bill signing ceremony in San Jose about legislation he says is key to addressing one of California’s most glaring failures: The sheer number of people suffering from untreated mental illness living on our streets.

    Newsom’s office first rolled out his Community Assistance, Recovery, and Empowerment (CARE) Court proposal in March. This new court system would make it easier for loved ones, first responders and mental health workers to force severely mentally ill Californians into psychiatric treatment and housing.

    • Newsom: “We get a moment in time, but this might live on, if we make it real. And that’s the hard work of the next year.”

    The hard work that the governor was alluding to is the fact that California’s 58 counties now have to actually set up these new systems before 2025 — with seven counties rolling out the programs within the next year.

    But alongside implementation and application, there’s almost certain to be litigation. Though the CARE Court bill sailed through both chambers of the Legislature and has been welcomed by at least some families of mentally ill, homeless Californians, it’s fiercely opposed by many civil liberties and human rights groups. They warn the new policy will take us back to the bad old days before the 1970s when California’s population of “mentally disordered persons” were often indefinitely and involuntarily shuttered away in state hospitals.

    The governor seemed to have a rejoinder for the ACLU — or at least, similarly named organizations — on Wednesday.

    • Newsom: “It’s one thing to receive an opposition letter from, you know, four-letter groups that have been out there for 30, 40 years, understandably, holding hands talking about the way the world should be…And it’s another to say, ‘Well, that’s wonderful, but what about my damn daughter? What are you gonna do for her?’”



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    C E Voigtsberger
    C E Voigtsberger
    1 year ago

    I thought there was a law on the “books” somewhere that the state couldn’t pass legislation that would impose a financial cost to the counties without individual consent. I guess that has gone by the wayside.

    It is nothing really new, except the mental health care bill has been increased substantially.

    In Ventura County, the mental health commitment process was usually handled on what was called the Mental Illness Calendar where one day a week a superior court judge would hear cases involving involuntary commitment for mental health problems. In all the mental health cases I reported over the years I worked as a superior court reporter I only saw one case that I thought was spurious. The judge dismissed it with the comment that ran something like, “If we committed every person who bought a new car who couldn’t afford it, our mental health facilities would be overrun within a month.”

    He went on to say that he must accept that the credit managers of automobile dealers were in a better position to judge the credit worthiness of buyers than he, sitting as a judge was.

    I won’t bother to relate all the details of the case. Too lengthy for here.

    In any event you haven’t experienced the ludicrous nature of Mental Illness Calendar until you have watched a be-robed judge explain the fine details of constitutional representation to a patient who is sitting with his arms and legs twisted together while rocking back and forth crooning some tuneless melody aloud.

    As for who is to blame for demolishing our fine system of mental health hospitals that existed prior to the LPS Act, which I like to remind everyone was a joint effort in the legislature to pass the cost of mental health onto the counties, Lanterman was the state senator who was a repuglican and led the charge in the senate and Nick Petris and Al Short were the dimokrats who led the charge in the assembly. Sure, Reagan signed the bill but the bill passed with sufficient votes to override any veto Reagan might sign. (Very interesting how predictive changed that sentence)

    All that originated from a case the Ventura County Public Defender, Dick Erwin considered his finest legal achievement entitled Hop Louie vs (whoever was director of mental health) that he argued before the CA Supremes. I wonder what he would think of his finest legal moment if he could see the havoc it wreaked on the mental health field in the forty some years since the decision was handed down?

    This many years later I don’t recall if Dick spelled his last name Erwin or Irwin, so if I have misspelled his last name, blame it on a 40 year + old memory. I do remember the Hop Louie case which, again, I won’t go into due to the length it would take to describe.

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