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

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?

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.

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

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.

Asker

Posted

I was committed based upon false testimony of a psychiatrist which is a totallly different story! but because my counsel was so ineffective I am just now coming to understand the process a little bit. From what I understand the judge never issued a actual verdict if you will after the hearing, or determination apparently he gave the option for appeal which I was unaware of and the hospital got to it quicker than I did ( obviously) because my attorney was no where to be found after the hearing. So after the hospital put in more evidence the judge then issued an order of judgement. This is still not clear to me but is being explained little by little. Now what else was explained to me was that since my attorney represented the hospital in prior years she should have never accepted this case. I hope that makes sense.

Peter Christopher Lomtevas

Peter Christopher Lomtevas

Posted

So you were outmaneuvered into a commitment. Object and appeal unless there are additional procedural details I am not being given or an assessment that is best kept secret.

Asker

Posted

Nope no secrets! It just gets more interesting and sad on what happens within the psychiatric system!

Posted

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 named to the Super Lawyers list as one of the top attorneys in New York for 2012 and 2013. No more than 5 percent of the lawyers in the state are selected by Super Lawyers. Martindale-Hubbell has given me its highest rating - AV Preeminent - in the areas of Criminal Law, Personal Injury, and Litigation. According to Martindale-Hubbell”AV Preeminent is a significant rating accomplishment - a testament to the fact that a lawyer's peers rank him or her at the highest level of professional excellence." Fewer than 8% of attorneys achieve an AV Preeminent rating. I also have the highest ranking – “superb” – on Avvo. The above answer, and any follow up comments or emails is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

Asker

Posted

I'm actually reading from the court document and it states pursuant to 14 NYCRR Part 527 have been exhausted and No previous application has been made for the relief requested herein. I just looked up that law and it has to do with a lawyer representing you. The psychiatrist spoke to my lawyer prior to this petition being made to the court. The hospital attorney spoke to my lawyer prior to this petition being made to the court. The psychiatrist and Chief psychiatrist sat in on an administrative review which is a procedure before the court date with my lawyer before this petition. So the hospital knowingly made a false statement in the court documents!!!

Posted

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.

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