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As an attorney who has represented several mental patients who have been wrongfully committed to institutions or abused by their psychiatrists, I found the views expressed by E. Fuller Torrey extremely dangerous and bordering on the criminal (“Brain Storm,” 1/16).

For example, Torrey admits lying to a judge in an attempt to get someone committed. Aside from his obvious violations there of professional ethics, Torrey apparently would like to turn back the clock on civil liberties for mental patients—and go back to the days of Bedlam and the snake pit—when someone could literally be locked up and the key thrown away.

Take a look at it: Someone committed to an institution is deprived of his physical liberty. We have a Constitution that guarantees all Americans certain rights of due process before being deprived of their liberty—and then only after they have allegedly committed a crime, not before the crime. But in the netherworld of psychiatry, people can be deprived of their liberty before harming themselves or another—and all based on the “opinion” of some psychiatrist or policeman or intake nurse. This is an enormous crack in our constitutional liberties—all under the guise of paternalistic “medical treatment.” This is also patent hypocrisy. For example, the American Psychiatric Association has even stated that psychiatrists cannot really predict when someone will be a danger to self or others (Tarasoff v. Regents of Univ. of Calif, Supreme Court of California, 1976).

This is a grave danger to all of us. For example, not too long ago I had a case of a 40-year-old Hispanic woman who got into an argument with her boyfriend. When she would not leave his home, he called the police. She argued with the police and soon found herself in a mental hospital, tied to a table. Her gown slipped off during the night, and all those who passed the open door of her room were able to view her exposed body. I got her out about a day later, but the humiliation will be with her for the rest of her life. She was not “crazy,” just angry, and has not been institutionalized before or since nor shown any signs of “mental illness.”

Torrey also admits medicating people against their will. Unless danger is really imminent, this act is simple battery—something that has been a crime in Anglo-Saxon common law for 1,000 years.

People like E. Fuller Torrey, who is hiding behind the revered emblem of “M.D.” to justify his acts and mislead the public, are a real danger to others, unlike many of his innocent victims, who are unfortunate enough to become subject to his so-called “treatment.”

Attorney at Law

Cleveland Park

via the Internet