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“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Aug 27, 2011

An Example of How Court Orders For Involuntary Commitment Are Obtained: why hearings should be held in open court

Published again as an example of why Involuntary Commitment proceedings should not be held in secret.  In order to preserve Justice, Justice must appear to be done, and it must be SEEN...  Justice, in my son's case, has not had even a cameo appearance...

Isaac has always taken his meds as prescribed, and went to appointments; he has no history of "noncompliance" with treatment anytime or anywhere.  I have read the entire chart from his hospital stay from July 28 to August 6.  

The only people who made statements about my son alleging that he is "dangerous", violent, or aggressive are the mental health professionals who petitioned the Court; in Nancy Sherman's case, she used her Designated Mental Health Professional status to abuse her State granted authority to detain my son.   The direct care hospital staff recorded progress notes in my son's medical chart frequently; all these updates state  that he was consistently calm, took his meds, kept to himself, and never tried to leave or even say he wanted to.   Not a single episode of threatening, or dangerous behavior is recorded in his chart, not even when Jennings charts the drug changes he ordered due to "agitation."   So how can the statement on Jennings petition state that my son "threatened" me and the staff? No description of these alleged "threats." This is not challenged by his court appointed attorney!  

The forgery:  Nancy Sherman cut and pasted informtion from intake paperwork onto an Affidavit apparently to mislead the Court and allege that I had asked her detain my son.

The perjury: Nancy Sherman attested that the aforementioned forged Affidavit is attached to her petition.  It is NOT in fact, a part of the Yakima County Superior Court record filed with the Yakima County Court Clerks' office.  She also perjured herself in her written statement by attesting to have informed me verbally of her intent to detain my son. She further perjured herself by stating I had been attacked and threatened by my son, and falsely alleges that he had , smashed our tv.  Jeffrey Jennings committed perjury when he repeated Ms. Sherman's lies. Jennings alleged in his written affidavit that Isaac has attacked "his parents" and further alleges I am afraid of Isaac; like Ms. Sherman, Jennings also attests under penalty of perjury, that Isaac had "smashed" our TV.    

Ms. Sherman failed to mention at all that Isaac had been experiencing flashbacks of being at Child Study and Treatment Center, and had been talking about what is was like for him growing up; he had been attempting to process some deeply painful experiences; remembering the time he spent at CSTC and losses he experienced have caused him a great deal of grief.  He asked in agony, "How could they take so much from me, mom?"  An example of the loss he was recognizing is that he was worried about not being able to do things he did in grade-school, like math.  Nancy Sherman inexplicably, told a blatant lie that maligns and stigmatizes my son; she states in her testimony that he picked up and threw our giant screen TV at my head.  This lie is told to portray him as a "violent and dangerous" person.   What really pisses me off, is she states in her testimony that he attacked me, that I am "afraid of him."   I am afraid. I am afraid FOR my son; I am not afraid OF him!  I am afraid about what further harm can and will be done to him, by unethical mental health professionals---It was more than six months before I could sleep longer than a couple hours after these events last summer---who will stand guard and protect my son when I am asleep?

Nancy Sherman's perjured testimony was repeated by psychiatrist Jeffrey Jennings, who was to attest "only" to facts he knew, "first hand" to be true.  Which would have been absolutely no facts about what had happened when my son was in crisis; he never returned my repeated calls about Isaac's care while he was his attending physician while he was hospitalized.  This "doctor" spoke to NO ONE who knows my son; not even the mental health staff at the community clinic he goes to.  He got no first hand information from Isaac; Isaac would not talk to him.  So, this "doctor" had no idea how my son functions on a daily basis, who he lives with, or even, the emotional crisis which led to his hospitalization.  

Isaac's crisis was brought about by remembering and reliving traumatic experiences---and  he was struggling to cope with his profound losses.  These events could have ultimately been cathartic, for in reality, they presented an opportunity for some cognitive/behavioral therapy---to help process his grief and loss, and perhaps alleviate his PTSD symptoms---perhaps help him to heal a little.   Instead, Jennings put him back on the benzodiazapine he no longer took due to cardiovascular risks.(at twice the previously prescribed dose!) At the same time, he increased the dose of the neuroleptic drug he takes by 250 mg; despite the fact that the manufacturer states it is dangerous to increase the dosage by any more than a 50 mg at a time; no more often than once or twice a week, to lessen the serious fatal risks.  I later found out from reading my son's chart and talking to him, the drugs were increased punitively as a chemical restraint.  I believe this to be true since this unethical increase in the neuroletic dosage and the prescription of lorazepam occurred immediately following Jennings refusal to respect Isaac's repeated request that he be left alone so he could take a nap. Jennings went to my son's room to talk to him; Isaac, asked Jennings 3 times to please leave him alone before standing up and yelling, "get the fuck out of my room!"  So, Jennings changed the drug dosages and made the changes part of the Court Order.  Jennings charted that the drug changes were necessary due to Isaac becoming "agitated;" however, Jennings conveniently neglected to state it was his own disrespectful behavior that had been the cause of my son's "agitation."   

The Community Mental Health organization that both Nancy Sherman and Jeffery Jennings are employed by is Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health, this clinic's records department shredded all the original Court Documents in my son's case. Doing so was a crime; the documents belonged to the Yakima County Superior Court. CWCMH is the only provider in Yakima County authorized to determine whether a person will be detained for Involuntary Treatment. CWCMH is the only contracted provider for crisis services in Yakima County, and CWCMH is entrusted to retain the original Yakima County Superior Court Record as the law requires. CWCMH records department shredded the documents immediately after scanning them into the electronic record.  When I spoke to CWCMH CEO, Rick Weaver about the unlawful shredding of Court Documents, he told me there was nothing wrong with committing this crime; stating, "we do it all the time."  He also, alleged that the Yakima County Superior Court probably "lost" the Affidavit Nancy Sherman forged to support her detention of my son; stating, "the Clerk's Office loses documents all the time!" Obviously, honesty and accountability are not valued by the CEO of CWCMH; so it it is understandable that not they are not valued by the people on his staff; understandable, but not acceptable...

Isaac has experienced outrageous neglect and abuse in foster care, a group home and at the State psychiatric facility for children.  He has drug induced neurological and physical impairments, has experienced repeated trauma as a result of being drugged with neuroleptics (known to be trauma inducing agents) and he was further traumatized by being repeatedly separated from his family.  Ultimately, my son was used in a federally funded neuroleptic drug trial without Informed Consent; it is obvious to me that unethical psychiatrists, "treatment providers," State social workers and "regulatory authorities" present the biggest risks to his safety and happiness.    

I reported all of these events to Yakima Police Department in writing in August 2010; and to the Department of Justice, Civil Rights Criminal Division, on the advice of an FBI agent.  Several weeks ago, I reported all of this to the Yakima County Prosecutor.  I also shared the substance of the multiple conversations my eldest son and I had with Isaac's Assigned Counsel, Jennifer Lesmez; told him about her refusal to accept Isaac's signed release authorizing his brother and I to confer with her and to see his  court record.  I also told the Prosecutor about the three times I had spoken to the Deputy Prosecutor, Dan Polage, prior to the hearing on August 6.  The Yakima County Prosecutor assured me he would,."look into it" and get back to me---I have left one voice mail and have gone to his office twice since reporting these crimes to him, but have not been able to talk to him, and have not received a phone call.  

I never spoke to Jeffery Jennings about Isaac's care or history or anything else.  In fact, I did not meet him until after he had discharged my son.   He then came over with two of the nursing staff and said, "I heard you wanted to talk to me."  Of course, there was no reason to talk to this dorktor by then.  The entire time he was my son's "attending physician," I saw Jeffrey Jennings one time when I visited my son.  He did not introduce himself to me, and he was my son's "doctor."  I had left a message for him with the nursing staff to please call me; and had been told by the nursing staff that he wanted to talk to me about Isaac.  I had no idea who he was---in all honesty, when I saw him on that visit, I thought he was one of the patients.   

Jeffrey Jennings recorded in the hospital chart on August 5, 2010, the day before my son was released, that he was going to release him the following day---no one informed me---there was no discharge planning, no one informed me of the court hearing scheduled for the morning of the 6th.  He recorded in Isaac's medical chart that he was releasing my son because I was demanding that he do so.  He charted his "medical decision" to release my son was because I made him do it---although I had never spoken to him, since he refused to return phone messages.  

It is ludicrous when you think about it: this guy is a psychiatrist that in effect, claims his "medical decision" to release my son is because he was coerced?  I had never met him, did not know who him at all, had never even spoken to him.  Yet, he claims his decision to release a patient is because his mother "insisted." Four days earlier, he had testified, under penalty of perjury, the same patient, "is  dangerous and violent and his mother is afraid of him...."  One can reasonably conclude Jeffrey Jennings is willing to perjure  himself iin petititions seeking a Court order for Involuntary Treatment and will knowingly enter false information into a person's medical record.

These are portions of the petition itself, which attests that Isaac "has not accepted voluntary treatment." He had in fact sought to be hospitalized.  While on the psych unit, he took drugs as prescribed, did not try to leave, and agreed he needed to be there---All of which begs the question, What was the basis of the psychiatrist and the designated MHP asserting that Isaac was not willing to accept voluntary treatment?


Isaac lives with me, and it is just us in the home.   He has not seen his other parent in over a decade, yet he had, according to the Designated Mental Health Professional, "threatened" BOTH of us---The alleged threat against the hospital staff is not documented.---It seems to me, the actual threat itself, e.g. the words said and behaviors exhibited, would be necessary for this allegation to comply with the Rules of Evidence, and be offered as testimony.  The incomplete statement, "threatened parents and staff" without a description of the alleged threat; does not meet the standard necessary to comply with the  Rules of Evidence.  The reality is, he threatened no one.

I told the Prosecutor (who I actually voted for) that the Deputy Prosecutor failed in his duty by failing to investigate the factual basis of the questionable testimony used against my son.  How difficult would it have been for the Deputy Prosecutor to have asked Yakima Police Department to send a squad car to my home?  In order for a Court Order to be lawful, the evidence used to obtain it must have a factual basis.  Testimony is direct knowledge--not rumor, innuendo, gossip, and made up stories; which are all that were used against my son.  There is no excuse for mental health practitioners seeking court orders using false testimony.  There is no excuse for a defense attorney failing to mount a defense---it is unethical, it is negligent, it is malpractice--it is a violation of my son's right to effective assistance of counsel. 

A Court Order based on felony perjury and forgery committed by two "Mental Health Professionals" acting as agents of the State of Washington is illegal.  Instead of dropping the Court Order, the Deputy Prosecutor extended it, based on the false testimony of Jeffery Jennings.   The Court Order should not have been extended, much less, allowed to remain in effect until it expired!   Why are felonious acts accepted and not impugned when investigated by the appointed State "investigator?"  The reason cited by Jeffrey Jennings to petition the Court for the authority to forced drug my son had nothing at all to do with what was in my son's best interest, or any medical necessity, it was "based on maintenance of the ethical integrity of the medical profession." Which is obviously not ethical medically, it is not only ironic, but sickening really; all things considered...How is it my son's responsibility or even possible that drugging my son could do such a thing? Jennings treated Isaac patient for over a week but refused to return multiple messages lift at the hospital and at his office at CWCMH, he did not confer with Isaac's GP, or Isaac's  mental health providers, his brother, and or myself.  He also did no discharge planning although he entered his intent to release Isaac the day prior to releasing him. These facts are evidence of medical negligence, and an utter lack of "ethical integrity."  It defies reason to believe that drugging a person under color of law could "maintain the ethical integrity" of a psychiatrist; much less, maintain the ethical integrity of the profession! Involuntary Treatment is magic used to "maintain the ethical integrity of the medical profession" in Washington State. 

A Final Note
The Deputy prosecutor did nothing to verify the accuracy of statements made by either Nancy Sherman or Jeffrey Jennings; he had a duty that he failed to carry out with due diligence, and for a prosecutor, that is not acceptable.  The very same can be said for Jennifer Lesmez, my son's "defense" attorney, who mounted no defense for her client.

"All that is required for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing."  
Edmund Burke

Specific Federal Rules of Evidence (that were not followed) are below. While these proceedings took place in Washington State Superior Court, these Standard Court Procedural Rules are applicable; the Cornell site is easily accessible and user friendly. 

Rule 602. Lack of Personal Knowledge
A witness may not testify to a matter unless evidence is introduced sufficient to support a finding that the witness has personal knowledge of the matter. Evidence to prove personal knowledge may, but need not, consist of the witness' own testimony. This rule is subject to the provisions of rule 703, relating to opinion testimony by expert witnesses.
Rule 1002. Requirement of Original
To prove the content of a writing, recording, or photograph, the original writing, recording, or photograph is required, except as otherwise provided in these rules or by Act of Congress.
Rule 1003. Admissibility of Duplicates  
A duplicate is admissible to the same extent as an original unless (1) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original or (2) in the circumstances it would be unfair to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original.

"I believe we must speak our conscience in moments that demand it, even if we are but one voice." 
Richard B. Sanders

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