If you have a civil commitment case and your attorney doesn't represent you correctly, can you appeal that case?

Asked over 1 year ago - Croton On Hudson, NY

A long story, but just learning so much more in fact just learning the attorney that I hired to defend me in a psychiatric civil commitment case never filed with the court to let them know that she was representing me. This case has so many faults but to find out that my attorney that I found out never filed with the court and that they were filed as mental health hygiene lawyers just puts the icing on the cake. I think it may have to do with that she was the hospital lawyer a very long time ago and I just found out that she should have never taken my case. I also found out that I had the right to an automatic appeal but since my attorney never contacted me after the hearing to let me know of the decision I didn't know that. Can I get an appeal on this case?

Additional information

After reading over the petition again it became apparent that the hospital knowingly made false statements on the petition, to petition the court to have a MHLS lawyer knowing I had a private attorney. In addition, the judge ordered that the show of cause be served upon a member of MHLS, none of which I ever signed a HIPPA release form to or spoke to anyone there and supposedly there are affadavits supporting this according to the petition because the judge ordered them. I went yesterday to the court to get the transcript of my hearing and all documents pertaining to this matter and it's sealed. I have to go before the judge to show a motion of cause in order to get my records. I can't afford another attorney! Because of this hospital I have had to pay for a different attorney to get me back into school due to the psychiatrist breaking HIPPA laws.

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Ronna L. Deloe

    Contributor Level 12

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    Lawyers agree

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    Answered . You should contact another attorney who handles mental health cases as soon as possible to review your case. It may be possible to make a motion to reopen this case or it may have to go to an appeal, depending on the facts in this case. I have no way to know whether a motion is permissible because I don't know the facts of your case. Seek out competent legal counsel as soon as possible. Best of luck to you.

    If you found my answer to be "HELPFUL," or the "BEST ANSWER," please feel free to mark it accordingly. The... more
  2. Eric Edward Rothstein

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . You may be able to make a motion to file a late appeal.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and have been doing criminal defense work for over 16 years. I was... more
  3. Peter Christopher Lomtevas

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

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    Lawyer agrees

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    Answered . No. Ineffective assistance of counsel may be used as a point on appeal, but you don't explain whether a judge committed you after a hearing or some other way (voluntary or informal). I'll assume you had a hearing.

    You are entitled to object to your commuttment and you have a right to appeal to the mental health director or have a court review your committment.

    I know this is a hollow answer because I am not sure exactly how you were committed.

    Good luck.

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