Can we help you to secure your loved one’s release from a Baker Act facility even if the facility has already filed a Petition for Involuntary Placement?

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Hello, everyone. It is Mark, and welcome back.

In this video, I want to talk to you about the Baker Act and whether or not I can still help you to secure your loved one’s release from a facility if it has already filed a petition for involuntary placement.

This issue came about when a family called me. Their daughter had been baker-acted; law enforcement had taken her to a facility, and the 72-hour window had closed. She had been held for longer than 72 hours, and the parents wanted their daughter back. The facility refused, and they even have filed a petition with the court to keep her. The facility said they would have a hearing in the next four or five days and ask for another two weeks to keep her, and of course, the parents will be beside themselves.

I mean, the baker act, in my opinion, was borderline. I’m not so sure that she even met the criteria, but be that as it may, the police made that decision that’s their discretion, and they exercised it, so the facility had then gone and filed a petition to keep her.

The family said, “Is it too late?” “Can you still help us?”

I’m sharing what I’ve shared in other videos is the best time to try and secure your loved one’s release before the facility goes and files. That’s the window of opportunity to get to the courthouse first and as I have said in other videos, the one who gets to the courthouse first usually is the winner. Not always, but most of the time. I like to get to the courthouse first. I like to play offense. I’m not going to rely on a facility to do us the big favor of releasing your loved ones when they do not even meet the criteria. They are purely motivated by the fact that your loved one has health insurance, not that they want to get your loved one help.

As I’ve said in other videos, the bankrupt statute is not a treatment statute. It’s designed for emergency stabilization only. However, yes, I can still help you secure your loved one’s release. First of all, I can still file my petition for Habeas corpus. I don’t know if the court will do anything with it because the facility has gotten there first, but I can still file the further habeas petition. If the judge doesn’t grant it because there’s a placement hearing already scheduled, the facility may decide to capitulate. They know the allegations against them and the evidence that will come out in the hearing. I can review the petition for placement filed by the facility. Most of the time, they are technically deficient. They don’t even meet the criteria that is required under the statute. To ask a judge to move forward with a placement hearing, I can review police reports.
In this case, the police came. If they do write a report, I want to review it. I want to find out if the Baker Act was even good. I can also speak to the state attorney’s office and see if I can’t negotiate someone’s release. As I’ve said, these cases are treated like criminal cases, except it’s all done under the guise of confidentiality. Meaning when there’s a hearing, just like in a criminal case, there’ll be a prosecutor, a judge, and a public defender.

This is a Baker Act hearing, and your liberty is at stake. So once the state files petition, the attorney’s office will prosecute this case on behalf of the state of Florida. Remember, it’s the state of Florida that has custody of your loved one and now the judge is deciding should that temporary custody become more permanent. From zero to six months, a significant period is stuck in a state mental health facility. If you don’t think it can happen, I’m here to tell you that it can.

I’ve had those phone calls from people who are in facilities. They’ve been ordered there for six months, and they want me to get them out. Frankly, at that point, it’s pretty much too late. I can still help your loved one, but again, we need to move quickly. We need to review the evidence and see if we can’t get your loved one out of the facility before a hearing. If there is a hearing, then I’m going to go to that hearing and fight to get your loved one out. If you don’t want me to be at the hearing, you’re certainly entitled to the public defender’s services. Your loved one may get a public defender. They’re all good lawyers at the public defenders’ office. I was prosecuted for many years, and I know many fine lawyers in the public defender’s office. The problem is they’re overworked and underpaid, so the opportunity to prepare for your particular hearing is frankly diminished. Your loved one probably is one of 20 cases all on the same docket. Obviously, there’s an advantage to preparing the case days from when the hearing is going to take place. That’s why I encourage you to hire a private council like me to help your loved one if you can.

This is an interesting scenario and a great question; so, if you hire me before the hearing, even if the placement petition has been filed, I can still help your loved one get out. Thanks again. See you next video.

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