Note, Blurring the Lines of the Danger Zone: The Impact of Kendra's Law on the Rights of the Nonviolent Mentally Ill
35 Pages Posted: 8 Jul 2021
Date Written: May 19, 2002
This Note argues that Kendra's Law, which may potentially be applied to mentally ill individuals without a history of violence, is overbroad and unconstitutional because it is inconsistent with the state and federal constitutional standards for deprivation of liberty, due process, and the right to refuse treatment, as established by the New York Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court. Part II of this Note examines the evolution of involuntary outpatient commitment in New York under Kendra's Law, including a comparison of how the statute differs substantially from the 1994 pilot program'" on which it was modeled. Part III will provide an overview of the federal constitutional standards under which an individual may be deprived of his or her liberty through involuntary inpatient commitment, and argue that these standards should also be applied to individuals facing involuntary outpatient commitment. It will also examine the possible conflict of Kendra's Law with New York state constitutional liberty interests, the due process right to a competency hearing, and the right to refuse treatment under Rivers v. Katz.'6 Finally, Part IV discusses the morality, as well as the efficacy, of coercive outpatient treatment for the mentally ill in light of current public policy.
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