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NY court: Mental patient can challenge unlawful detention

NY court: Mental patient can challenge unlawful detention

New York's top court says a mentally ill patient involuntarily sent to a psychiatric hospital has a

New York's top court says a mentally ill patient involuntarily sent to a psychiatric hospital has a common law right to challenge detention once the court order for treatment expires.

The Court of Appeals, split 5-1, says New York's mental health statute governs such challenges by patients who believe they have sufficiently recovered, but it doesn't preclude filing a writ of habeas corpus against unlawful imprisonment.

The case concerns a man identified in court papers only as Stephen S., detained in Holliswood Hospital in Queens for weeks after his court-ordered three-month psychiatric treatment for paranoid delusions had expired in 2012.

Mental Hygiene Legal Service petitioned for his release. The hospital argued he was still dangerous and should first face a hearing on his mental status.

Stephen was released in 2013, and the hospital closed in 2014.

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