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Can I re-open a Marchman Act case?


Hello, everyone! Welcome to another edition of our video newsletter.

In this video, I want to talk about the question of whether or not you can reopen a Marchman Act case.

We get calls from people who have been Marchman Acted, and what I mean is they have been court-ordered into treatment. They’ve had a hearing; they had a court-appointed counsel or waived the right to have court-appointed counsel. Then, they’ve been ordered into treatment, but they don’t want to go or comply with a court order. They call me to get them out of this. The general answer to that is no. When you have a hearing before a general magistrate or a junior judge, their ruling doesn’t become a court order for ten days, so there’s a 10-day window in which a person can object to the findings. If the hearing is before a judge and in some counties, and there’s a court order, there’s not much you can do about it unless the judge has illegally done it there. Most of the time, we’re getting people who decide to represent themselves, and they didn’t preserve the right to file an objection. As a general rule, if you have been court-ordered into treatment, and now you want to complain about it, it’s too late. The time to do something about it is before you go to court and either to use the benefit of having court-appointed counsel or counsel if you can retain private counsel who is experienced in handling Marchman Act cases. Hire not just petitions council, but respondents council too. In other words, they’ve handled cases from both sides.

Stay safe and be well.

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