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NCJ Number: 158352 Find in a Library
Title: Heller v. Doe: Denying Equal Protection to the Mentally Retarded
Journal: New England Journal on Criminal and Civil Confinement  Volume:21  Issue:2  Dated:(Summer 1995)  Pages:437-462
Author(s): H A Boyden
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 26
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: In the case of Heller v. Doe, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that persons facing involuntary civil commitment can be treated differently, depending on whether the person is mentally retarded or mentally ill, and upheld a Kentucky statute which imposed a higher burden of proof for involuntary commitment of a person who was alleged to be mentally ill than for a person who was alleged to be mentally retarded.
Abstract: Kentucky uses a "clear and convincing" standard in commitment proceedings for the mentally retarded, while a "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard is used in commitment proceedings for the mentally ill. The author challenges the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, as well as the belief that mental retardation is easier to diagnose than mental illness and that the mentally retarded should have fewer constitutional rights than the mentally ill. She also contends that the U.S. Supreme Court should have struck down the Kentucky statute on the basis of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment. Her conclusions are based on burden of proof required for involuntary commitment, level of difficulty in mental health diagnoses, proof of dangerousness, treatment methods, and strict scrutiny review. 202 footnotes
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Civil commitment; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; Equal Protection; Kentucky; Mentally ill offenders; Offenders with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities; State laws; US Supreme Court decisions
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