The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, March 18, 1966, Page Page 4, Image 4

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    The Daily Nebraskan
Friday, March 18, 1966
Mental Illness . . .
3
u4
Page 4
. t
A
Commitment
EDITOR'S NOTE: The fol
lowing story on commitment
proceedings for mental illness
was written by Diana Stover.
Miss Stover did the story for
the University School of Jour
nalism depth reporting class.
A bitter husband whose
wife was suing for a divorce
lashed out at his mate by hav
ing mental illness proceedings
brought against her.
"My wife is crazy," hetcld
me clerk of the district court
and signed a mental health
affidavit. A mental health
warrant was sworn out for her
arrest She was picked up by
the deputy county sheriff and
held at the state hospital until
her case was dismissed at an
insanity hearing three days
later.
A week later the wife
declared that her husband
was insane; a warrant was
sworn out; and toe husband
was jailed in revenge. The
board found him not mentally
ill.
Commitment Law
Cases similar to the one
abouve can and do happen in
Nebraska. In fact, several
cases in Lancaster County
have resulted from husbands
maliciously filing against
their wives and vice versa.
Under the present Nebraska
mental health commitment
law, it is possible for sane
persons to be jailed and even
committed by estranged
mates, estate-minded relatives
and vindictive friends or
neighbors.
"It takes only one person
who thinks that :Boy, that guy
is nuts, to put the machinery
in motion," said Harlan
Kendle, Lancaster County
Deputy Sheriff. "Somebody
signs a complaint and we go
out and bring him in. It seems
to me that a lot of these people
we pick up are perfectly
normal."
If a person is not at home,
he is picked up wherever he
is, Kendle said. Several stu
dents from the University of
Nebraska have been picked np
one was taken from a class.
Others have been taken from
their jobs.
Women are usually taken to
the state hospital or to the
city jail. Men are usually
thrown into one of three bull
pens at the county jail with
drunks, sex deviates, and
other accused criminals.
'Law Not Abused'
One of the three members
of the Lancaster County Men
tal Health Board, Wilford F.
Sanders, who has been clerk
of the district court for the
past eleven years, looks at the
situation differently.
"In 99 ont of 100 cases," be
said, "reliable affidavits are
signed. There is not much
abouse in Lancaster County.
Tbe board is not going to com
mit somebody who we feel is
not mentally ill. There has
been m railroading of people
to state hospitals. If a family
or neighborhood squabble
comes up, we can detect that
easily."
In 1965, the board, composed
of C. L. Clark, attorney;
Janet F. Palmer, psychiatrist;
and Sanders, heard 180 cases.
Eighty-seven per cent of the
cases were commitments to
state hospitals and 13 per cent
were released.
State Hospital View
On the receiving end of the
present controversy over
commitment procedure is Dr.
Edwin Coats, superintendent
of the Lincoln State Hospital.
"Persons who are sent to
tbe hospital who do not belong
here are in a very small
minority," Dr. Coats said.
"There might be an occa
sional person committed who
is not as sick as someone says
be is. We examine a person
within 24 hours after be is
admitted. Ia the next few
weeks his rase is evaluated by
our psychologists and psychi
atrists." Lawyers and state legisla
tors are becoming increas
ingly concerned about the vio
lation of an algedly mentally
ill person's constitutional
r 5.1t-. They have cited cases
v.here individual rights have
bre.i violated.
- rt"
4j
TC'JIL ENJOY DINING IN TKI
GUADfT ATMOSPHERE OF THE .
PIZZA HUT
4fJi I 0 Ph. 439-4601
A Nebraska businessman
tells this story:
For several months prior to
being accused of mental ill
ness, Mr. X and his wife had
been having marital difficul
ties. One incident, Mr. X
said, involved a gun. Later,
Mr. X and his wife went to a
psychiatrist for professional
marriage counseling.
Upset by the doctor's man
ner, Mr. X left, but his wife
stayed to talk. When his wife
did not come back to the car
after a short time, Mr. X
called her. In their telephone
conversation, the name of
another man came up. Mrs.
X asked Mr. X if he were
going to shoot him.
"I was still put out, so I
answered, 'Yes'," he recalled.
A while later, Mrs. X came
out of the office and started
towards the car. Two plan
clothesmen came over and
took Mr. X to the police
station.
No Phone Calls
"No one would tell me at
the station why I was there.
No one would let me use the
phone to call a lawyer," he
recalled.
"I was very indignant about
being picked up." he said. "I
cried; a prisoner laughed; so
I knocked him about halfway
across the room. I spent the
night in jail.
"The next morning my wife
came down with a minister. I
was still real mad. They put
us in a room so we could talk.
I spied a phone and called my
parents and told them to get a
lawyer but at that time I
couldn't tell them what I was
being held for. My wife and
the minister went from the
station to the courthouse and
signed tbe papers.
"Later that day I was
driven to the state hospital
and was taken to the maxi
uum security ward a small
room about 10 feet by 10 feet
with a tile floor and no bed. I
spent two days there before
the board meeting . . .They
did let my lawyer see me. He
brought a psychologist with
hira who did some tests hut
I was so nervous that he had
to testify that the results were
inconclusive.
Lawyer Not Informed
"At the hearing my lawyer
didn't know the actual cir
cumstances leading up to the
testimony against me, so he
wasn't of much help. That
night he got in touch with my
wife. She said that she would
retract the papers but it was
too late because it had to be
done within 24 to 48 hours.
"My lawyer knew that no
written record is made of
mental health proceedings, so
we hired a court reporter to
take down what was said. I
was kept in another office
when testimony was given
against me. The hearing was
continued and I spent three
more davs at the state hos
pital." Mr. X said that all in
all, he was held for over a
week.
(As opposed to mental
cases, persons picked up in a
criminal case cannot be held
longer than "a reasonable
length of time" before they
must be brought before a
magistrate. Although this pe
riod of time varies, it is gen
erally considered 24 hours or
one working day.. .
For example, it is the prac
tice in Lancaster County, ac
cording to William D. Blue,
deputy county attorney, to
bring persons arrested the
preceding day for a crime
before the judge the next
morning. But if a person is
arrested on Friday, he will
be held until the courthouse
opens on Monday. The coun
ty's mental health board
meets only on Tuesday and
Friday mornings.)
Second Hearing
"At the second hearing,"
Mr. X said, "I agreed to go
to a state hospital as a volun
tary patient for testing. This
time, when the tests were
given I was relaxed and com
fortable. I was released in
less than a week.
"Tbe next week, I again
appeared before the b 0 a r d.
They refused to give me a
clean slate 4ecause tbe staff
psychiatrist had recommend-
i i- :
2
akTCl
W 9
ed that my wife and I meet
with him on a regular basis
for marriage counseling. It
wasnt until two months later
when I appeared before the
board that they dropped the
proceedings."
This happened some five
years ago. Looking back an
still bitter, Mr. X said. "I
was very fortunate in getting
to that phone at the station
when I did. Otherwise I might
still be in some institution to
day. I know some people
have gone to their hearing
without counsel. It scares me
ot think that i wasn't even
examined by a doctor or psy
chiatrist before the hearing."
Procedures Vary
While all Nebraska coun
ties operate under the same
law, the exact procedures
may vary from county to
county.
These problems are not
unique to Nebraska. Many
states still have mental
health laws which have not
changed much since they
were enacted in the late nine
teenth century w hen hospitals
were custodial institutions
rather than active treatment
centers. The laws borrowed
the language and the meth
- SI --tfttSitUiLI!1"
ART STUDENTS . . . took advantage of the warm weather and the grassy mall in front
of the Woods Art Building Thursday to do some "sunny" drawing
Studying Sacrificed For Sunning
As Spring
Students are free to relax
and sit on any lawn of the
University campus and Thurs
day afternoon it appeared
they were taking full advan
tage of this freedom.
According to the offices of
the University grounds, phy
sical plant, chancellor and
dean of student affairs, the
University has no policy, rules
or regulations regarding stu
dents' lounging on University
bunt
Ideal locations for lounging
would include the grassv
mall between Woods Art
Building and Sheldon Art Gal
lerythe front lawn of Social
Sciences and Love Library
the yard around administra
tion the columns dorm
courtyards and plazas and
almost all of East Campus.
The high temperature
Thursday afternoon was 72
degrees as reported by the
U.S. Weather Bureau and
symptoms of warm weather
were seen all over campus.
Art classes moved outside;
drawing boards and posing
subjects were scattered on the
Building. In front of the li
brary students studied or
slept.
WE'RE LOOKING FOR
Special Girls in 1966
Have you considered becoming a
United Air Lines Stewardess?
Its not all travel and glamour. You work odd
hours, are frequently away from home and
always on the go.
If you are mature ond flexible, like the responsi
bility of "being on your own" ond gain satisfaction
from serving others apply now for class openings
in 1966.
Qualifications: High School Groduatt, 20-26 years,
S'2"-5'9", contoct lenses ond glosses acceptable.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION SEE
TOUR COUEGE FLA CEMENT OFFKE
UNITED AIR LIMES
.Meed
ods of detention from the
criminal laws.
Now there is a growing
clamor for change in mental
health laws. It is taking place
in a nationwide atmosphere
of revision of criminal and
civil rights laws to ensure an
individual protection of his
constitutional rights
Thirteen stages and the
District of Columbia have
passed commitment laws
based on a "draft act," a
model law, preapred by t h e
National Institute of Mental
Health of the Public Health
Service in 1952.
Bill Lacked Support
In Nebraska a law based on
the "draft act" was adapted
to state statutes to retain the
county mental health boards
and was introduced in t h e
1965 Unicameral.
The bill failed to make it
out of committee because it
lacked the support of profes
sional groups including the
Nebraska Bar and Medical
Associations, the county
boards of mental health and
the psychiatrists at the state
hospitals, according to Hal
Bauer, Lincoln attorney who
introduced the bill.
"In the last several years
Fever Attacks Campus
Male students began wear-
ing shorts to classes and both
girls and boys were wearing
sandals.
m 1.
riuci nave nui JCi sun i-
ed to bloom, but the "green-!
Medical College
To Host Expert
( Oil Hypertension
' '
A professor at the Universi
ty of Virginia School of Medi
cine is guest lecturer for a
physicians' continuing educa
tion course at the University's
College of Medicine in Oma
ha. Dr. Carlos R. Ayres. assist
ant professor of medicine at
the Virginia school, is lectur
ing for a course on the newer
concepts of hypertension.
He will consider "the use
of plasma renin in the diag
nosis of hypertension" and the
"use of unilateral renal excre
tory function in the diagnosis
of hypertension."
Dr. Albert Carr, instructor
in internal medicine at t h e
University, is course coordinator.
R
e
our criminal laws have devel
oped to the point where you
can hardly arrest a man with
out taking away his constitu
tional rights," Bauer said.
"But this is not so for an al
legedly mentally ill person."
Constitutional Rights
Bauer said that a person
accused of being mentally ill
does not have the following
rights which are guaranteed
every accused criminal:
No right to be bonded. An
individual can be taken to
jail for three or four days un
til the board meets.
No right to obtain coun
sel. After an individual is
taken into custody, he can
make a phone call only at the
discretion of the arresting of
ficer or jailer.
No notice of hearing or
knowledge of the charges
made against him. If a per
son has obtained counsel, his
lawyer is at a disadvantage
because he doesn't know what
his client is charged with.
No opportunity to con
front his accuser or to cross
examine him. Most of the
time the accused is not pres
sent when testimony if given
against him.
No rieht of the rules of
uTi r nr
j ness" is here, as one student
put it.
ti, o,i r :
j r
; :c.a ,
, aiuujwg is n.i iiiccu 101 sun-
ning.
One coed said she liked ..at w not done at
looking out the classroom , t sessio js bei done atj
window and watching thejthe p r e s e n t time," Bauer!
squirrels m the trees. jsaid .The he!p and coopera.j
Afternoons see students tion of all groups interested !
heading for the golf courses, I in the problem is being;
Pioneers Park or bicycle rid- sought prior to the legislative!
ing. (. session." I
step
vision
evidence. Testimony can be
hearsay, conclusions or spec
ulations. Reconsider Bil
Under the bill, LB532,
which Bauer would like to see
the 196f Unicameral recon
sider and adopt, there
are provisions which distin
guish between admissions for
dangerous patients and oth
ers. There is a provision not in
the present law that would
make it a criminal act pun
ishable by not more than a
thousand dollar fine or six
months in jail for a malicious
filing. After an individual
signs a mental health affida
vit, two doctors must see the
accused before a mental
health warrant is sworn out.
The bill provides for an
emergency procedure to take
into custody individuals con
sidered dangerous to them
selves and others. In such a
case, a police or health offi
cer or any other person would
make a written application to
the hospital. If a doctor af
ter examining the accused
feels that he is mentally ill,
he would be taken to the hos
pital. But if a health or police of
ficer believes that the indi
dual is likely to injure h i m
self or others before an ex
amination can be made, he
may take him into custody,
apply to a hospital for admis
sion and take him there.
Under the proposed law, a
patient will be allowed to ex
ercise all civil rights while
hospitalized unless he has
been judged incompetent by
a court.
Voluntary Admissions
The bill puts increased em
phasis on voluntary admis
sions. At present, aDout su,
per cent of admissions to Ne-j
braska state mental hospitals;
are commitments. The bill
bases hospital care on the j
consent of the patient to en
courage the mentally ill to
receive care at an early stage
when he will more readily re
spond to treatment. The theo
ry is that if individuals real
ize that they can leave when
ever they w ant. they will
come in as voluntary pat
ients. The bill died in committee,
but there are those who are
working to raise it from the
dead. The Lancaster County
Mental Health Association
held a panel discussion com
mitment Feb. 1 which was at
tended bv lawyers, psychia-
trists and the public. An in-
tenm leeislative study com-
: mittee on the commitment
, . . mMltaii ill!
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iraunv newu
ill)
authentic every
oi toe uay
'l - )
f :
J j
Turefc Shoes Gateway
Carlton's Shoe Stores, Havelock &
Phillips Dept. Store
iff yfV y
it; jj . jAki X
Ji .... JI, .JtJ: i x
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It IK
Behlen Laboratory's new addition.
Architecture Lacks
Continuity Of Form
By Julie Morris
Senior Staff Writer
One wit. describing the
campus architectural styles,
commented that tne wooas
Art Building resembled "an
inverted ant farm."
The Administration build
ing, he said, was like a "can
cerous growth on the side of
the Teacher's College.
The sneaker's opinions were
lar?elv imheld bv two Univer
sity School of Architecture
faculty members.
Architecture on the campus,
one of the professors said, is
essentially "awful." He cited
lack of continuity of form or
style in any buildings.
The buildings are "one of
this king, one of something
else," he said, pointing out
that the Woods building is of
concrete slabs, the art gallery
of marble, the new music
building of sandstone brick
and Architectural Hall of red
brick. All of these buildings
are within a one block area.
Another problem with the
campus architecture is that
there has not been, up to this
time, any real planning of
buildings. "Exact places
aren't planned" for buildings,
he noted. The situation is so
bad as to make it seem as
though buildings were "scat
tered on the campus. I he
"most desperate need" in the
physical expansion of t h e
campus is to plan the entire
project.
The architecture instructors,
however, both praised the
Regents recent authorization
of a plan to hire a firm of
mjjm
Take your brogues
traditionally with the
wing tip that works
itself all the
Take them in smooth black
or black forest or black cherry
leather. Take them grained
In black forest, hickory or black,
Roberts Brogues M5.00 to 25.00.
Wouldn't you hkt to bt ia our hoT
Mori ol Aaitrica it. lnltrnational Shoe Co., St. Loult, Mo.
Shopping Center, Lincoln
Piedmont Shopping Cerrten,
24 & 0 Streets, Omaha
i
;.;H ; v ? v ? n , 1
campus planners and design
ers to work out comprehensive
plans for c a m p u s develop
ment. Campus buildings, the
faculty members said, are
more of a conglomeration of
things than anything else. The
buildings fall into something
of a "collegiate style," the
type of buildings found on col
lege campuses. The buildings
aren't necessarily "func
tional," one of the teachers
said, they are simply there.
"You couldn't pin a style"
on any of the campus build
ings, one of the men said.
Behlen Laboratory's new
addition and Sheldon might
be termed contemporary or
modern. Abel, Pound and
Cont. on Page 5, CoL 1
look for the golden arches
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;T" .