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Transcript of July 12th US v. Mississippi Mental Health Lawsuit Hearing Now Available

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On July 14th Judge Carlton Reeves issued this order regarding which of the three proposed remedial plans (remedial plans were submitted by the State of Mississippi, the US Department of Justice and Special Master Dr. Michael Hogan) he had chosen to address the deficiencies in Mississippi’s mental health system. After expressing his confidence in the Special Master, Judge Reeves stated that “The Court will adopt Dr. Hogan’s recommendations in full. He has put forward a careful and modest proposal for achieving minimum compliance with the ADA.”

The remedial plan that the Special Master had submitted to the court essentially combined the State’s proposal for how mental health services should be delivered with the United States’ proposal for how those services should then be monitored. In his order choosing Dr. Hogan’s plan, Judge Reeves said that he also agreed with Dr. Hogan’s recommendations on how the remedial plan should be monitored and reviewed, and on the need for a monitor to assess how the remedial plan was progressing over time. He issued his order only 2 days after a day-long hearing on Monday, July 12, which featured Dr. Hogan elaborating in detail on the remedial plan he had recommended to the court.

The transcript of the July 12th hearing is now available for those who were unable to attend or listen by phone on the day of the hearing. It is divided into 5 sections. In the first three sections, Dr. Hogan gives a detailed explanation of the work he did and is then questioned by Judge Reeves and the attorneys for the US Department of Justice and the State of Mississippi. After Dr. Hogan’s testimony and questioning by both parties,  attorney Deena Fox for the US Department of Justice and attorney James Shelson for the State of Mississippi gave their closing arguments to the court.

As we stated in one of our previous posts and think it is important to repeat here, we are very grateful to Judge Reeves for making it a priority to focus the court’s attention throughout the lawsuit on how what happens (in this case) affects real people with mental illness. As he says in his order “…the issues can become so abstract, so esoteric, that the lawyers, the monitors, and even the court can forget that real families and real people are involved…If we fail to recognize that Mississippians with mental illness have lost their children because of their needless institutionalization…then we have done a disservice to those people and to the Americans with Disabilities Act we are supposed to enforce.

We thank Judge Reeves for recognizing the special expertise Dr. Hogan brings not just as a clinician, but also as a family member. We also thank Dr. Hogan for sharing during his testimony about his perspective as a family member and for acknowledging that as important as that perspective is, that his family member with mental illness was the true expert on what she needs to be able to live the life she wants to live.

In his July 14th order, Judge Reeves asked the two parties to each submit two names of a possible Monitor and asked them for their proposals defining the Monitor’s role, and to do so within 30 days.

Here are some recent news articles about the July 12th order.

 

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