Fasulo v. Arafeh

173 Conn. 473, 378 A.2d 553 (1977)

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Fasulo v. Arafeh

Connecticut Supreme Court
173 Conn. 473, 378 A.2d 553 (1977)

Facts

Ann Fasulo (plaintiff) was committed to a state mental hospital in 1951, and Marie Barbieri (plaintiff) was committed to the same hospital in 1964. Both women were initially committed as a result of the state’s legitimate exercise of its parens patriae powers; however, the confinements were indefinite. After Fasulo had been committed for 26 years, and Barbieri for 13, the women challenged their confinements as a violation of their due-process guarantees under the state’s constitution. The women argued that because their commitments were indefinite and the state had no procedure for periodic court review to assess the need for their further confinement, their commitments deprived them of their liberties without due process. State law at the time that the women challenged their commitments provided two avenues for them to challenge their confinements. Under General Statutes § 17-192(1), the women could have applied for their releases upon satisfactory proof that they had been restored to reason. The women would have had to file the application with a probate court; the court then could have ordered that the women be released. Under General Statues § 17-192(2), the women may have been released if their hospital’s superintendent or another in a managerial capacity notified the hospital’s officers, directors, or trustees that the women were no longer mentally ill or were no longer suitable for confinement at the hospital.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Longo, J.)

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