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Roy Kirk French, III v. The Honorable A. Eugene Blackburn

428 F. Supp. 1351 (1977)

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Roy Kirk French, III v. The Honorable A. Eugene Blackburn

United States District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina

428 F. Supp. 1351 (1977)

Facts

Roy Kirk French, III (plaintiff) was ordered involuntarily committed based on a petition filed by his mother. Judge Eugene Blackburn (defendant) agreed that French was an imminent danger to himself or others and likely had a mental illness or was an inebriate. That same day, French was evaluated by a doctor who agreed with the judge’s determination. After a nine-day confinement, French was released because he posed no imminent danger. Upon his release, French filed for declaratory and injunctive relief in federal district court, requesting an order that North Carolina’s involuntary-commitment procedure be found to violate the Due Process Clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments. The state’s commitment procedure included a probable-cause hearing within 10 days of the confinement order; medical examinations by two doctors within 96 hours of commitment; the possibility of immediate release; notice at least two days before the hearing, which included pertinent information; and waiver of the defendant’s presence only by attorney. French argued the procedure was deficient because it did not provide a probable-cause hearing within 48 hours, the notice required was deficient, he disagreed with waiver by counsel, and there was no inclusion of advisals against the right against self-incrimination. Judge Blackburn moved for summary judgment.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ward, J.)

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