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In re Application for Writ of Habeas Corpus

Decided: December 23, 1971.

IN THE MATTER OF THE APPLICATION FOR WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS BY D.D.


Kilkenny, Labrecque and Lane. The opinion of the court was delivered by Kilkenny, P.J.A.D.

Kilkenny

D.D. (hereinafter "Debbie"), a 17-year-old girl born on July 31, 1954, is now and since her last transfer thereto on April 21, 1971 has been confined as a mental patient in the female wing of the Vroom Building, a maximum security unit of the State Hospital for mental patients, now known as Trenton Psychiatric Hospital.

Debbie wrote a letter to Judge Kingfield stating therein:

Dear Sir:

I am a 16 year old girl and I am being held in the Vroom Building. I do not want to stay here.

Please give me a lawyer and a hearing to get out of here.

(D.D.)

The letter was witnessed by an assistant social work supervisor and an assistant supervisor of security.

Judge Kingfield treated the letter as a petition for a writ of habeas corpus and referred the matter to the Legal Aid

Society of Mercer County, which designated an attorney to represent Debbie. Judge Kingfield personally conducted a hearing at the Vroom Building. Debbie, as well as her attorney, attended the hearing. There was medical and other testimony on behalf of Debbie and on behalf of the State.

Having considered the testimony of Dr. Edward Folmer and Dr. Hubert M. Hoffman of the Medical Staff of the Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, the only medical witnesses, from which it appeared that Debbie is incompetent and, if released, would be dangerous to herself or to others or to the property of others; and having been satisfied that Debbie is in need of further hospitalization for her mental condition, Judge Kingfield entered an order on June 21, 1971 denying Debbie's petition for her release and ...


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