Willem Dafoe in a 1975 Theatre X production


– The state of Wisconsin. – Milwaukee County. – County court.
– Misdemeanor division. – In the matter of the legal inquiry into the mental condition of, John Kischline. – Eric Schneider. – William Dafoe. – John Schneider. – Flora Coker. – Arleen Kalenich, alleged to be mentally ill. – You are hereby informed
of the following facts and legal requirements. – One, the basis for
your present detention is an application for judicial inquiry into your mental condition, executed by the following persons, your mother, your father, your wife. – Two, counsel has been
appointed to represent you in these proceedings. You have the right to retain
counsel of your own choice, at your own expense. – Three, you have a right to
a jury trial if you so desire, and submit a request, either
by yourself or your attorney. – Four, the court or
jury, if you so demand, will be required to make
a finding that you are… – Mentally ill beyond a reasonable doubt. – And you are either… – Dangerous to yourself or others, beyond a reasonable doubt. – And-or… – Unable to make a reasonable decision with respect to hospitalization. – In order to justify any
commitment to a mental hospital. – Five, the names of
the examining physicians appointed by the court to examine you, and who will testify as to their findings, are as follows, Doctor Who and Doctor Never Heard Of. – Six, the foregoing
parties propose to testify that they have observed
you in the recent past, and have information tending
to show the existence of mental illness on your part. Your attorney will be allowed
to cross-examine them, if he so desires. (solemn orchestral music) – I am not allowed to love you. – I am not allowed to have a good job. – I am not allowed to have your respect. – I am not allowed to have your child. – I am not allowed to make any difference. – My death doesn’t matter. – An individual adjudged
mentally ill in Wisconsin, faces restrictions on making contracts, limitations on the right to sue, restrictions on licenses
required to engage in certain professions. Persons found mentally ill are,
like felons, unable to vote. The mentally ill are also
prohibited from driving a car, serving on juries, and participating
in a marriage contract. In some respects, such as the limitation on holding a drivers license, the deprivations which
follow civil commitment, are more serious than the deprivations which accompany a criminal conviction. Just as serious are the difficulties that the committed individual will face, in attempting to adjust to life outside the institution,
following release. A former mental patient will
encounter serious obstacles in attempting to find a job, sign a lease, or buy a house. In the job market, it’s
better to be an ex-felon, than an ex-patient. Perhaps the most serious possible effect of a decision to commit an individual, lies in the statistics which indicate that an individual committed
to a mental institution has a much greater chance of dying, than if he were left at large. – I am the Honorable Irish
Milwaukee Judge Branch X. This hearing is called in
the matter of a legal inquiry into the mental condition
of William J Dafoe, who is mentally ill. Who is counsel for Milwaukee County? – I am. – And I hereby appoint you attorney for the alleged incompetent. – Attorney for the alleged
incompetent, present. – And I hereby appoint you
court-appointed psychiatrists. – [Narrator] The following,
as well as all other court scenes we will show, are taken verbatim, except for the names, from Milwaukee County Court
records of final hearings. This hearing was held on April 30th, 1973. – This is in the matter of a legal inquiry into the mental condition
of William J Dafoe. The purpose of this
hearing is to determine his mental condition, and his need for hospitalization or treatment. Counsel for county? – I call Doctor Who to the stand. Doctor, your name,
address, and occupation. – Bleep bleep Who, bleep
bleep bleep, Norris bleep. – When and where did you
examine this patient? – I examined William Dafoe at Milwaukee County Mental Health Center, South Division, on April 12th, 1973. – As a result of this examination, did you come to an opinion
beyond a reasonable doubt, as to what the diagnosis is? – Yes, William Dafoe is mentally ill. He is suffering from schizophrenia. – Do you believe beyond a reasonable doubt that this patient has insight
into his need to be treated? – No, I do not, he has no insight. – Where would you recommend
that treatment be continued? – I believe he requires
inpatient psychiatric care. – With no alternatives being present? – No other alternatives. – Attorney for the patient, your witness. – No questions. – I call Doctor Never Heard Of. Your name, address, and occupation? – Never Heard Of et cetera psychiatry. – When and where did you
examine this patient? – April 27th, 1973, South Division. – Did you reach a diagnosis
beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes, I feel William Dafoe is
suffering from schizophrenia, chronic paranoid type. – Do you believe beyond a reasonable doubt that this patient has insight
into his need to be treated? – No, I do not feel he has any insight into his need for treatment. – Do you agree with your
colleague that treatment be continued at this institution? – Yes. – And at no other place? – No other place. – Your witness. – No questions. – I move this court. – Rests. – William J Dafoe was
found to be mentally ill, unable to make a rational judgment as to his illness and his
need for hospitalization. He is therefore committed to Milwaukee County Health Center North. Next. (dramatic orchestral music) – [Narrator] If you are pleading insanity as a defense against
prosecution for a crime, you can be assured of a
very thorough examination as to your mental condition. If you are applying for
mandatory compensation on the grounds that mental illness has been inflicted on you,
let us say as a war veteran, you can be assured of a
very thorough examination as to your mental condition. But if you are an ordinary citizen, and someone else has filed a petition asking for your commitment
to a mental hospital, as a mentally ill person, you’ll be lucky to have
a 15 minute interview with two general, medical practitioners, and the service of a
court-appointed attorney. – Doctor, what is your profession? – Physician and surgeon. – How long have you practiced your profession in this community. – 49 years, this is my 50th year. – You’ve been a member
of the probate court’s panel of physicians on
a case by case basis, to examine persons allegedly mentally ill, deficient or infirm, have you not? – Yes. – How long have you been on this panel? – That’s hard to say, probably 20 or 30 years. – In the course of this
period, you have examined and given evidence with respect to many persons allegedly
mentally ill, deficient or infirm? – Yes. – In the course of your practice, have you also encountered
persons thusly affected? – I would say that my
practice at the present time consists of anywheres from 10
to 15% psychiatric problems. – Doctor, have you had any
professional relationship with persons you will
testify concerning today? – No. – Or social relationship? – No. – Doctor, as I understand it, you are not certified as a
specialist in psychiatry, is that correct? – I have said that at
least a hundred times. – You are not board-certified,
or board-eligible? – Yes sir. – Your practice is generally
general practice, isn’t it? – Yes sir. – All right, the court is satisfied that this physician qualifies as an expert in the field of psychiatry, and may give opinion evidence. Counsel for the county? – Doctor Who, when did you
examine Eric Schneider? – I examined Eric Schneider
on October 16th, 1974, at Milwaukee County Mental Health Center, where he was detained
pursuant to this hearing. – Your diagnosis? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. – Does this make him a fit
subject for hospitalization? – Very much so. – What kind? – A structured, supervised
setting of this kind. – Comment concerning alternatives? – No other alternatives. – Dangerousness? – To himself. – Insight ability to rationalize
his need to be treated? – He has no insight, his judgment and reasoning
are completely impaired. – Opinions given by you, are
they beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes. – Your witness. – No questions. – Commitment recommended. – Attorney for the patient. – Nothing further. – Would you like to say anything? You have the right to remain silent. – Lots of things I’ve
been saying all around, that the whole world ought to know about. – Eric Schneider is
found to be mentally ill, and unable to make a rational judgment as to his illness or need for
treatment, or hospitalization. In this connection, he is found
to be a danger to himself. He is committed to 5142 board. – What is mentally ill? – All right, that’s all. Who’s next? (dramatic orchestral music) – [Narrator] Obviously, the
definition of mental illness is left largely to the
user, and is dependent upon the norms of
adjustment that he employs. Usually the use of the
phrase “mental illness” effectively masks the
actual norms being applied, and because of the unavoidably
ambiguous generalities in which the American
Psychiatric Association describes its diagnostic categories. The diagnostician has
the ability to shoehorn into the mentally diseased class almost any person he wishes, for whatever reason, to put there. This hearing was held in August, 1974. – I should like to ask
counsel for the patient if he’s willing to stipulate to the psychiatric qualifications of these expert witnesses,
or should I prove them up? – I will stipulate. – Doctor, when and where did
you examine Arleen Kalenich? – I examined her on August 10th, 1974, in Milwaukee County Mental
Health Center, North. – Your diagnosis? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. – Do you believe her to be
a fit subject for treatment? – I would consider the
patient to be a fit subject for inpatient hospitalization. – Are you ruling out alternatives? – Yes. – Comment concerning her insight into her need to be treated? – She lacks insight, her
judgment is defective. – Dangerousness to herself or others? – I would consider her
dangerous to herself and others by virtue of the behavior she exhibited prior to her admission. – Opinions given by you, are
they beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes. – Your witness. – During your interview,
did she give you any answers to your questions which further buttressed your opinion of schizophrenia? – She refused the interview. – She didn’t speak with you at all? – That’s correct. – Well your diagnosis
is based on the history that you found in the chart? – Yes. – Well did I understand it’s difficult to determine her insight? – Not from the history. – Oh, well your whole diagnosis
is based on the history. No further questions. – Doctor Never Heard Of. When and where did you
examine Arleen Kalenich? – I examined Arleen Kalenich
on the 10th of August at North Division. – Your diagnosis? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. – Do you consider her a
fit subject for treatment? – Yes. – Where? – At North Division. – Are you ruling out alternatives? – Yes. – Comment concerning her
insight, ability to rationalize her need for treatment? – She hasn’t any insight, her judgment and reasoning are impaired. She refuses treatment. – Dangerous? – Yes, she is dangerous to herself, because of the fact that she
started a fire in her home, cut the wires, and burned
the bank books in the house. – Opinions given by you, are they beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes. – Your witness. – [Narrator] Wisconsin
defines mental illness, as mental disease to such extent, that a person so afflicted
requires care and treatment for his own welfare, or
the welfare of others, or of the community. In 1972, the US Supreme Court noted that implicit in this definition, is the requirement that a person’s potential for doing harm,
to himself or to others, is great enough to justify such a massive curtailment of liberty. This implies a balancing test, in which the state must
bear the burden of proving that there is an extreme likelihood that if the person is not confined, he will do immediate harm
to himself or others. – Doctor, are any of your opinions based upon an interview with the patient? – Yes. – So, unlike the other doctor,
you were able to talk to her? – Yes. – Did she recount to you the incident of having to be removed
from the roof of her house by the police department of Glendale? – Yes, in a rather sketchy manner, avoiding as much as possible. She was ardent in her answers. – Did she go into the incident regarding the purchase
of a piano for the home? – Yes. – Versus college education? – Yes, she had $2,000, and
her parents used the money to buy her a piano, rather than using it for her college education. – Well now, her explanation
of those incidents, and what other answers she gave you, do you base your opinion
of paranoid schizophrenia? – Well, the interview being
rather bizarre thinking, loose associations. – Give us an example of bizarre thinking or loose associations. – She was displeased with her parents. She had $2,000 and felt that
was a great deal of money, thought it was enough to
give her a college education. When I pointed out that $2,000 probably wouldn’t get
her through a year of it, she said, well, we will find a way. – Well now doctor, you
were able to talk to her. What is your impression of her
insight into her condition? – I think it is nil. – Did she mention during the interview that she felt she needed
hospitalization or treatment for any mental or emotional condition? – She felt she did not need treatment. – You believe that inpatient treatment would be the only way to
treat her at this time? – Yes. – I have no further questions. Would you state your name please? – Arleen Kalenich. – How old are you? – I’m 23 years old. – Have you been gainfully employed since graduating from high school? – Yes, mostly waitressing. – Tell me a few of the places. – Mike’s Big Boy, Frenchy’s. – That’s fine. Now the incidents which led up to your being brought to the hospital, am I correct in assuming it had to do with the purchase of a piano from funds which you believed were yours, as opposed to using those funds
to put you through college? – Yes. – Was that the substance of
what triggered this incident? – Yes. – Was there anything
else about this incident that should be brought out? – That I wished to further my education. I have to get the majority
of it from grants. My parents made a stipulation
that they would help me all through college, but I had to live at home
to get any help from them. – Have you ever been hospitalized in Milwaukee Mental
Health Division before? – No. – Have you ever been hospitalized for any mental or emotional condition? – No. – Now the doctors related something about burning bank books,
is that true and correct? – Yes, I burnt their bank books. – Whose bank books did you burn? – My parents’, my brother’s was not, I did not burn my brother’s
and mine was not there. – Why did you burn your
parents’ bank books? – It was a symbol. They would not listen to my words, so I thought they might listen to my actions. – [Attorney] What words would
your parents not listen to? – That I wished to govern my own life. That I wished to go where I please without being traced every
time I left the house. – [Attorney] Well, why
didn’t you remove yourself from the house and establish yourself in separate living arrangements? – I may have been employed, but that doesn’t mean I was
making enough money to make it. – Were you removed from the
roof of your parents’ house by the police department of Glendale? – I was removed by men
wearing gray outfits. – Why did you go up on the roof? – To get away from the noise, and to be able to watch what was going on. – Now you’ve heard both doctors testify, you have heard their testimony. They believe that you are mentally ill. – Yes, I heard it. – What statements have either doctor made that you feel were not substantiated, or that you take issue with? – I take offense at the interpretation of my starting a fire in the house. It’s about the equivalent
of lighting a cigarette. – Was that the incident
about burning the bank books? – Yes. – Is that the only fire
you ever lit in the house? – Well, there’s a fireplace. – Well what other statement
did either doctor make that you weren’t satisfied with? – I’m not sure. – I have no further questions. – I rest your honor, move 5142 commitment. – Your honor, may I ask one
question each of the doctors to find out whether the
questions and answers have in any way buttressed
or changed their opinions? – Yes, just a minute though. – You said you went up on the
roof to see what was going on. What were you referring to? – I locked the house,
and left one window open. My mother was going to the police station, and that station is about a five minute walking distance from the house. I went up to see what would happen. – [Judge] What did you do? You locked your parents out of the house? – No, I locked her out. – [Judge] And you knew she
was going to the police in order to get in to the house? – No, first she decided
to go for the police, then I decided– – [Judge] You told your mother
you would lock the house? – She had already left. She called on the phone,
and walked out of the door. – You locked her out, after
she went for the police? – Yes. – Why did she go to get the police? – It was a family argument. – All right. – Doctor, you have now had the benefit
of hearing some answers to some basic questions. Could you give us your opinion regarding her mental health at this time? Whether or not she is able to make a rational
decision and is dangerous? – Her answers are not correct, there is much distortion. She has had previous
psychiatric hospitalization, she has a history of drug abuse. – Well now can you tell us
where she has been hospitalized, and how often? – [Who] I can’t really,
it’s on the charts. She wouldn’t talk to me, she wouldn’t talk to me because she wanted an observer or attorney present. – Now you say she has a
history of drug abuse. How did you come by this information. – [Who] From the chart. – Did the chart indicate who was putting that
information into the chart? – I can’t say, I have to have the chart. – Apart from that, did
her answers impress you? She did have command of
herself to some extent. – No. – You believe that she is mentally ill, suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes. – You further believe that
she is dangerous to herself? – Yes. – You further believe that
she is dangerous to others? – Yes. – You do not feel that she has any insight into her condition which would allow her to become a voluntary patient for treatment of her condition? – That is correct. – You believe that she is a fit subject for inpatient hospitalization on a full-time basis at this time? – Yes. – Well, I have no further
questions of this doctor. – Doctor, would you concur on what
your colleague has said? – Definitely would. – There seems to be some disagreement as to this previous
question of hospitalization. Mister Kalenich, you are her father, you’ve been previously sworn, has you daughter ever been hospitalized because of a mental
condition or drug abuse? – Well, she saw a doctor
when she started high school for a physical, but there wasn’t any
hospitalization involved. I don’t know anything
about any drug abuse. – Well, I don’t recall that there was. I don’t recall whether that was a previous record of hers or not. – Ah, well I suppose it gets down
to the truth of that report. – That’s right. – And her father has said no. – If the court please, I do respect both doctors’ opinions, but I’m a little bit concerned. I just wonder if we’re not dealing with a family emotional type situation, and it’s a little difficult
for me to understand how full-time inpatient
hospitalization at this time would be the cure. I think there may be some
type of friction here. That’s my opinion your honor. – I have some of the same feeling, however I’m not an expert
in psychiatric matters, and the experts have testified. My feelings are the same as yours but I can’t disregard
the experts’ testimony. Mister Kalenich, you
want to say something? – Well I, she needs
help, I can’t handle her, but she won’t do it herself. I don’t know anything about
any previous hospitalization. But she does need help
and she won’t accept it. – Doctor, you have heard the
attorney for the patient and his statements. I have somewhat the same feelings that perhaps it’s a question
of friction within the family. I’d like to hear you on that. – It says here the patient admits to past psychiatric hospitalization. – I don’t care about that, I want to hear your comment on the attorney’s feelings in this matter. I have some of the same feelings. You have stated she is ill. Now is it just something beyond a matter of friction within the
family or in the home? – I think she has a psychotic disorder. – And she has to be hospitalized for that? – That’s correct. – No question in your mind about it? – That’s correct. – And you Doctor, do you
have the same feeling? – Yes sir. – Anything further? – Nothing, unless her father
wants to make a statement. – Well I agree with the doctors. I don’t know where they got
that hospitalization from. – Arleen Kalenich, do
you want to say anything? – I have some questions I’d like to ask. – [Judge] Of whom? – Of anyone who wants to listen. – [Judge] What questions? – I’d like to know why
I’m considered insane just because I’d like to
try take care of myself. I won’t accept illegal support. – [Judge] What do you mean by that? – I’ve been offered several
chances to become a prostitute. – [Judge] What else? – That I wish to further my education, that I wish to grow in my own way, and not live in my
parents’ image of the past. – [Judge] Anything else? – What else can you ask? – After you got out of
high school in 1969, did you pursue any further schooling? – Yes, I found I did
not have enough credits to get into college, so I went to MATC. I did very poorly, but I
got my credits in geometry. – [Judge] When did you get the credits? – I think I went back to night school about a year after I
got out of high school. – You went back to night school? – Yes. – When did you get the credits? – Well, I keep time by events, not dates. – All right, what event can you tell me that you got the credits? – I moved out of my parents’ house, and I was living with my
boyfriend and his parents. I was working, I was
going to night school. I completed that. And after a while I moved
back into my parents’ home. – Then you can’t tell me
how many years ago it was you got the credits? – Excuse me, I think it took
me a year to do the course. It wasn’t every night, and
I was out of high school for about a year before I went to MATC. – It took you about a year? – Yes. – Would it be fair to say
that you got the credits in about 1971? – Approximately, it’s on the transcripts. If you’d like a transcript. – I’m asking you, you should know. You are the one who got the credits. – Well nobody took my
place in the classroom. – Arleen Kalenich is
found to be mentally ill, and unable to make a rational decision as to her need for
hospitalization or treatment. She is further found to
be dangerous to herself. She’s committed to a 5142 board. (dramatic orchestral music) – [Narrator] In Lessard
versus Schmidt, 1972, the United States Supreme Court defined the following
standards for civil commitment. Civil commitment cannot be justified on mere preponderance of the evidence. Civil commitment can be
justified in some cases, if the proper burden
of proof is satisfied, and dangerousness is
based upon the finding of a recent overt act, attempt, or threat to do substantial harm
to oneself or another. And further, that the state must prove beyond a reasonable
doubt, all facts necessary to show that an individual is
mentally ill, and dangerous. The Supreme Court decision also says, a court should order full-time
involuntary hospitalization, only as a last resort, that it must viewed in the
light of less drastic means for achieving the same basic purpose, and that the person recommending full-time involuntary hospitalization, must bear the burden of proving, one, what alternatives are available, two, what alternatives were investigated, and three, why the
investigated alternatives were not deemed suitable. These alternatives include
voluntary, or court-ordered, outpatient treatment, day
treatment in a hospital, night treatment in a hospital, placement in the custody
of a friend or relative, placement in a nursing home, referral to a community
mental health clinic, and home health aide services. The court also noted that
there is substantial evidence that any lengthy hospitalization, especially where it is involuntary, may greatly increase the
symptoms of mental illness, and make adjustment to
society more difficult. ♪ Ta da ta da ta da da, ♪ ♪ Ta da ta da ta dattle de da ♪ – In the matter of the legal inquiry into the mental condition
of John Kischline. – Doctor, when did you
examine John Kischline? – October 17th, 1974. – Your diagnosis? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. – Treatment? – Inpatient psychiatric hospitalization. – Alternatives? – None. – Comment concerning insight,
ability to rationalize his need to be treated? – He lacks insight, his
judgment is impaired. – Do you have indication
of acts of dangerousness to himself or others? – There was a note written in
the hand of John Kischline, that was written on a paper towel, on a paper towel he signed the note. This is a product of his mind. I would consider this to be evidence of rather loose and psychotic thinking. It showed many loose associations, loose associational thoughts. – Opinions given by you, are
they beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes, of course, it’s
primarily from the record. – Your witness. – No questions. – Doctor? ♪ Ta da ta da ta dattle de da ♪ ♪ Ta da ta da ta da da ♪ – Date of exam? – October 13th. – Diagnosis? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. – Treatment? – Structured, supervised
setting of this kind. – Alternatives? – None. – Insight, ability to
rationalize need for treatment? – No insight, his judgment
and reasoning are impaired. – Dangerous? – Primarily to himself. – Opinions given by you, are
they beyond a reasonable doubt? – Yes. – Your witness. – Doctor, upon what do you base your opinion of dangerousness to himself? – Well, he’s not able
to take care of himself, because of his inability
to take care of himself. He is up at night, he is writing two books, he is sleeping during the day, he is arguing with his
brothers and parents, he talks about reincarnation, he does not work. I think that is enough to indicate that he is unable to take care of himself. – No further questions. – I move this court for a
5142 commitment, your honor. – Attorney for the patient? – Your honor there are no witnesses on behalf of John Kischline, except for any statement he
might wish to make himself. Thus far he has been adamant about his right to remain silent. – You have the right to remain silent, you also have the right to speak. Do you wish to speak? – Yeah, perhaps. – You want to say anything? – I am the almighty bullshitter. – [Judge] Anything further? – No. – John Kischline is
found to be mentally ill. ♪ Ta da ta da da ♪ – Next? (dramatic orchestral music) – [Narrator] September, 1973, the hearing on the mental
condition of John Schneider, brought by his parents, and brother. – Attorney for the patient, I’d like to ask the
young man some questions. – I have no objections your honor. – Now, Mister Schneider, you have no duty to answer my questions, and you may remain silent if you wish, with no prejudice to your rights. However, if you do answer my questions, then I can use your responses in arriving at a decision in your case. Do you understand this? – Yes, I do. – [Judge] What is your name? – John Schneider. – [Judge] How old are you? – 24. – [Judge] Who do you reside with? – My parents, my brother, and my sister. – [Judge] If you were to travel 200 miles straightaway east from
where we are right now, what state would you be in. – Michigan. – This is the year 1973. What year was it four years ago? – 1969. – Have you ever heard the proverb, a bird in the hand is
worth two in the bush? – Yes, I’ve heard it. – [Judge] What does that mean to you? – I wish to remain silent. – Doctor Who, you’ve examined the patient. What did you find? – Schizophrenic, chronic paranoid type. A good subject for hospitalization, no insight into this illness, unable to make a rational decision as to his need for
hospitalization or treatment, no feasible alternatives,
beyond a reasonable doubt. – Do you wish to make a statement? – Yes, I think we agreed
that I did not say that I would not wish to
voluntarily commit myself, but I want the attorney that
I wanted to represent me present before I sign any
papers to that effect. That I did say. – That was his communication
to me, your honor. – Doctor, is his illness so severe that it prevents him from
understanding the meaning of a voluntary commitment? – I think he would understand the meaning, but he wouldn’t sign one unless he was backed against the wall. – You don’t think he’d be motivated by a desire for treatment? – I think he would be
motivated by a desire not to be committed. – Counsel? – Would you consider
the voluntary signature an alternative to hospitalization? – I would consider a
voluntary hospitalization an alternative to an involuntary
hospitalization, yes. – That’s all. – Doctor, what factors did you observe to lead you to your diagnosis? – John Schneider was extremely rigid. He tended to intellectualize, his effect was flat, he
made paranoid statements. – If John Schneider were presented with a voluntary application
to this hospital, you indicate he would understand it? – Yes. – So he does have some
cognizance, some thought process at this time, is that correct? – Yes. – Doctor Never Heard Of, would you agree that John Schneider has the intellectual capacity
to understand the nature of a voluntary application? – [Never Heard Of] I don’t disagree. – That’s all. – Any further evidence? – Yes your honor, I should like to ask the father some questions. Sir, are you related to the patient? – I’m his father. – You heard the counsel
propose the possibility of him signing his own
voluntary commitment? – Yes. – You realize sir, that
if he was able to do this, he would be able to give
the institution notice, and be out in a couple of hours, which would spring him out on the streets. Do you realize that sir? – Yes I do. – That is objected to. – Sustained. – That’s the truth. – The court will decide
whether that is an alternative. – That is our understanding. Now we don’t want to legally commit him, unless he is definitely
going to cause a problem. We’d rather see him commit himself. – That’s all. – Now sir, you may step down. The evidence is concluded. There are no further statements. Do you wish to make any further statements before we announce a
decision in your case? – Yes, I feel I wasn’t properly
allowed to defend myself, and I want to get another counsel. – [Judge] Well, that request is denied. We are now at the end of the case. – Well– – [Judge] Next statement? – I’m thinking of the future. – The court is satisfied that John Schneider is mentally ill. I am satisfied that he’s a fit
subject for hospitalization. He does at the present time, have the capacity to sign the voluntary, therefore there is a feasible alternative upon his signing the voluntary. I will dismiss these proceedings in lieu of him signing the voluntary. – John, I have the voluntary here. Will you sign it? – Yes, I know. I will sign the voluntary, but I want the attorney that I wanted to represent me present, before I sign it. I think that’s my legal right. – Your honor, I would like
to state for the record that John Schneider asked me
to call his attorney for him, Monday of this week. I communicated with the attorney of Mister Schneider’s choice. He indicated he would send an associate. However, it is my understanding that I am the only attorney present to
represent Mister Schneider. – All right, there should
be a different decision. This young man, by his
conduct right now indicates that he does not understand
what the voluntary’s about. I will therefore vacate
the previous order, and direct commitment to Milwaukee County Mental Health Center, North Division. His last minute request
indicates his other lack of insight into these proceedings, and into his own condition. There is the illness and there
is no feasible alternative. This gentleman is utterly incapable of having any insight into
his need for hospitalization. I will make no findings
as to dangerousness. I don’t think that’s been established, as that term is defined by the law. That’s all. – [Narrator] The state must
prove beyond a reasonable doubt, all facts necessary to
show that the individual is mentally ill, and dangerous. – We repeat, dangerous. – And dangerousness must
be based upon the finding of a recent overt act, attempt, or threat, to do substantial harm
to oneself, or another, even if standards for
adjudication of mental illness and potential dangerousness, are satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt, the court should order full-time involuntary hospitalization, only as a last resort. – We repeat, as a last resort. – Persons who are not alleged
to have committed any crime, cannot be totally
deprived of their liberty, if there are less drastic means available. – These scenes were taken from actual Milwaukee County Court transcripts. There are villains. – [Narrator] From the final
hearing in Milwaukee County on May 29th, 1973. – This is in the matter
of the legal inquiry into the mental condition of Flora Coker. – Your name is Flora Coker? – Just like on the cards in the index file in your computer system. – You are Flora Coker? – F-L-O-R-A C-O-K-E-R, yes. – Doctor Who, did you examine the patient? – Yes, I examined Flora
Coker on May 25th, 1973. – Did you reach an opinion
beyond a reasonable doubt, that Flora Coker is mentally ill? – Yes, Flora Coker is mentally ill. She is suffering from schizophrenia, acute chronic paranoid type. – Is she dangerous to herself and others? – Yes, she has two small children. – [Flora] I have three. – Three small children. – [Flora] Four. – Again, did you reach an opinion beyond a reasonable doubt that Flora Coker is dangerous
to herself and others? – Yes, I did. – You heard her remarks
given to counsel’s questions? – Yes. – They were appropriate, they prove she is oriented
today, is that correct? – No, the first remark about the computer cards or something, the first remark was most inappropriate. – I didn’t hear a remark about computers. – When she said her name, she
made a remark about computers. – I didn’t hear it
either, she said her name. – Right before she spelled it out, she made the remark. – She said she got on
the card or something. – It’s in the index of
the computer system. (confused crosstalk) – It was inappropriate. – Do you care to make a statement? – No. I think it’s already been decided. (dramatic orchestral music) – [Narrator] One final thought
noted in the Lessar decision. If a sociologist predicted
that a person was 80% likely to commit a felonious act, no law would permit his confinement. But under the same circumstances, a psychiatrist
recommendation of commitment is likely to be accepted. Justification is sought on the basis of the potential benefit
to the one confined in a mental institution. As Justice Brandeis noted in
an often-quoted statement, experience should teach
us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s
purposes are beneficent. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious
encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning, but without understanding. (eerie orchestral music)

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