25 Dev. Mental Health L. 1 (2006)

handle is hein.journals/dvmnhlt25 and id is 1 raw text is: DEVELOPMENTS IN
MENTAL HEALTH LAW
The Institute of Law, Psychiatry & Public Policy - The University of Virginia

Volume 25. Number 1

Jan uar 2006

Jaur  0

Reforming Civil Commitment in Virginia*
By Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr., Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Virginia
I am truly honored to welcome you today to
this conference that is sponsored by the  Also in this issue:
Supreme Court of Virginia and the Virginia
State Bar.                              Richard J. Bonnie, Reforming
Civil Commitment: Serving
When I began my tenure as Chief Justice, one  Consumers' Needs While
of my most important priorities was to reform  Protecting Their Rights ............
Virginia's mental health laws and judicial  Paul S. Appelbaum, History of
processes that relate to the mental health  Civil Commitment & Related
laws. Many have raised the questions: Why  Reforms: Lessons for Today.. I
does the Chief Justice care about this issue?  U.S. Supreme Court Cases ..... 2:
Why is this issue important to Virginia's  Developments in Virginia ........ 3
judiciary? Why does the Supreme Court of  Other Federal Court Cases ..... 4
Virginia care about this issue? I care. The  Other State Court Cases ......... 5
courts care. You care, and we care because  Other Developments ........... 6
we are committed to improving the quality of
mental health services provided to those
Virginians who are least able to care for and
help themselves.

We are also committed to an outstanding
judicial process that is fair and impartial and
that respects the rights of people who are
subject to Virginia's involuntary civil
commitment process. I believe that all
persons and all institutions that are involved in
Virginia's mental health system - mental
health practitioners, law enforcement
personnel, including sheriffs (who are

extremely important in this process), judges,
attorneys, magistrates, special justices,
patients, patients' families and friends - must
always exhibit attitudes of care. We must
care that we provide the appropriate mental
health services to those in need; care that we
have the available resources to help mental
health patients, including sufficient patient
beds; care that persons are afforded mental

* Edited introductory remarks presented on December 9, 2005, in Richmond, Virginia, at a conference on
Reforming the Involuntary Commitment Process: A Multidisciplinary Effort sponsored by the Virginia
State Bar at the behest of Virginia Chief Justice Leroy Rountree Hassell, Sr.

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