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Lyle R. Goetz v. The Honorable Matthew Crosson

967 F.2d 29 (1992)

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Lyle R. Goetz v. The Honorable Matthew Crosson

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

967 F.2d 29 (1992)

Facts

A psychiatrist must testify in support of civil involuntary-commitment proceedings in New York. The law also allows a judge to appoint an independent psychiatrist to examine the patient and testify about the patient’s mental state. Lyle R. Goetz (plaintiff), an indigent patient, argued that the Due Process Clause required the state to provide a consulting psychiatrist in order to avoid erroneous commitments. Goetz also argued against the sufficiency of the law’s procedures for the appointment of an independent doctor because independent psychiatrists were rarely utilized; only one expert was available in the county, which resulted in significant delays in hearings; and few psychiatrists were willing to be court-appointed due to the limited compensation available. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of the state’s chief court administrator, the Honorable Matthew Crosson (defendant), on Goetz’s first claim and did not consider his second claim. Goetz appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Winter, J.)

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