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Heller v. Doe

United States Supreme Court
509 U.S. 312 (1993)


Facts

Kentucky law permitted the involuntary commitment of mentally ill and mentally retarded persons. However, to do so, the state had to prove that the person was dangerous, treatment would be reasonably beneficial, and there was no less restrictive alternative. The burden of proof to establish these three requirements for the mentally ill was “beyond a reasonable doubt.” The burden of proof for the mentally retarded, however, was “clear and convincing evidence,” which was an easier standard of proof. The conflicting standards were challenged in the United States Supreme Court on equal protection grounds.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Souter, J.)

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