Civil Commitment Theory. Sherrie Brown LSJ 332/CHID 332 Spring 2007. Legal Justification for Civil Commitment . Parens Patriae Traditional role of state as “sovereign and guardian of persons under legal disability.”
LSJ 332/CHID 332
All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
Mayor Koch justified the commitment of Joyce Brown in the “name of both human rights and human decency,” according to Failer. A member of the HHC also defended the new interpretation of commitment standards as “an effort to protect the rights of the mentally ill homeless. ‘For the first time there is a recognition of the patients’ right to treatment, and their freedom from the prison of mental illness, rather than the freedom to die in the streets.’”
Joyce Brown was successful in convincing the lower court judge that the city of NY had infringed on her rights by committing her against her will.