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Where will the placement hearing take place?

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Hello, everyone! It’s Mark, and welcome back to our Q and A series.

In this video, I want to talk about the Baker Act and where the hearing will take place on the state’s petition for involuntary placement.

I’m going to read you the section of the statute that talks about where these hearings occur. It says, except for good calls documented in the court file, the hearing must be held in the facility’s county as appropriate where the patient is located. It must be as convenient to the patient as it is consistent with the orderly procedure and shall be conducted in physical settings that are not likely to injure the patient’s condition. What does that mean? In practical terms, it means that the hearing will be taking place in the hospital or the facility where your loved one’s being kept. It’s not going to be taking place in the courthouse, and that the general public, specifically you, are not going to be able to go into this hearing. This hearing will be conducted in the facility, and you’re not going to be able to go and see it unless you’re a witness. You will not be invited or even know when this thing takes place. For all intents and purposes, it will be conducted under the auspices that it’s confidential. What’s going on there will be done in secret, and that itself is part of the problem with the Baker Act.

While it’s a useful statute, the problem is that if your loved one has been Baker acted, bad enough that the general public doesn’t know what’s going on, but you as the spouse, the sibling, the child, whoever you are, you cannot get any information about this hearing, and you’re certainly not going to be able to take part in it unless you’re a witness. This is why I’ve talked about in other videos that it’s very important that when your loved one gets baker-acted, you take action as quickly as possible. It is a race to the courthouse and typically, whoever gets there first usually is the winner.

I love the Baker Act in terms of its ability to help people, but I hate it in terms of its abuse. Since COVID came along, the abuse has ramped up significantly. If your loved one has been Baker Acted, please feel free to reach out to us. My phone’s on 24/7, and you can message me through the website. You can email me at mark@bakeractattorneys.com; I respond very quickly.

With that said, thanks for tuning in. See you in the next video.

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