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Mental Health Watchdog to Host Legal Continuing Education Workshop on the Baker Act

by | Nov 24, 2020

Baker Act Defense Attorney Symposium & Summit

During 2017/2018 there were over 200,000 involuntary psychiatric examinations, Baker Acts, and more than 36,000 of these were initiated on children.

The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) is hosting a virtual continuing legal education conference on the Baker Act for private practice attorneys on December 4th. The complimentary event is open to attorneys licensed to practice in Florida and those wishing to attend may reserve a spot by calling CCHR at 800-782-2878.

The mental health law, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows for individuals of all ages to be sent for an involuntary psychiatric examination and held for up to 3 days. During 2017/2018 there were over 200,000 Baker Acts and more than 36,000 of these were initiated on children with over 4,000 involving children age 10 and younger. [1]

This conference in the sixth such event hosted by CCHR, a non-profit watchdog organization dedicated to restoring dignity and human rights to the field of mental health. CCHR began hosting these events as part of a campaign to protect individuals from human rights violations committed through the abusive use of the Baker Act.

Key topics at the conference include strategies to effectively serve families and to eradicate violations of the law, changes to the mental health law and successful actions for defending the rights of citizens being held under a Baker Act.

The event will be led by attorney Justin Drach of Theole Drach Law. A successful attorney practicing in Jacksonville, Mr. Drach was the 2017 recipient of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Humanitarian Award for his tireless fight to end mental health abuse in Florida.

While the original stated intention of the Baker Act was to protect the rights of citizens sent for involuntary psychiatric examination, it has become a source of abuse, prompting CCHR Florida to not only host this event but to launch a public information campaign to educate Floridians on their rights under this law. As part of this campaign, CCHR hosts a seminar regularly delivered online for the general public by attorney Carmen Miller who, as a former Assistant Public Defender in the Thirteenth Circuit in Tampa, has a great deal of experience on the mental health law. Now in the private sector, Ms. Miller specializes in cases of those who have been Baker Acted.

“We receive numerous calls every day from people looking for help. Unfortunately, all too often when people call us a petition has already been filed for involuntary commitment and they really need the help of a competent attorney who is well versed in the Baker Act,” said Diane Stein, President of CCHR Florida. “Hosting this event allows us to help create more attorneys who specialize in Baker Act law and this helps us to better serve the people contacting our organization.”

To learn more about the Baker Act or to reserve a spot at the next complimentary virtual seminar please email execdir@cchrflorida.org.

Sources:

[1] Baker Act Annual Report http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

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Clearwater, Florida 33755
Tel: 1-800-782-2878
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