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L.R.C. v. Klein

Decided: January 10, 1978.

L.R.C., ON BEHALF OF HIMSELF AND ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
ANN KLEIN, COMMISSIONER, N.J. DEPARTMENT OF INSTITUTIONS AND AGENCIES, AND HER AGENTS AND SUCCESSORS IN OFFICE, DEFENDANTS



Douglas, J.c.c.

Douglas

This action attacks, among other things, the validity of N.J.S.A. 30:4-46.1 as violative of constitutional guarantees:

1. Of due process by authorizing deprivation of liberty without a hearing and in the absence of any judicial approval or oversight.

2. Requiring consideration of alternatives less restrictive than institutionalization.

3. By sanctioning a deprivation of liberty based on the recommendation as to mental illness of only one physician who need not be a psychiatrist.

Defendants moved for summary judgment, and plaintiffs filed a cross-motion for Summary Judgment. There is no factual dispute affecting the constitutional questions raised. It is stipulated that

1. L.R.C. was not given a court hearing before detention in Ancora Psychiatric Hospital.

2. No patient admitted to a psychiatric hospital pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-46.1 is given a court hearing prior to admission.

3. A court did not review the contents of the admitting affidavit prior to admission to the hospital.

4. L.R.C. was admitted on the affidavit of one New Jersey licensed physician.

5. L.R.C. was or could have been detained for seven days plus Saturday, Sunday and a holiday, if any.

6. L.R.C. was admitted to Ancora on December 29, 1976 and released on January 6, 1977.*fn1

The doctor's certificate accompanying the patient is also stipulated to, and under medical findings provides:

1. History of previous illness (including mental illness) and/or previous hospitalizations: Denies previous suicide attempts.

2. History of onset of present illness (including predisposing factors): Monetary problems, domestic problems -- ...


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