CLEARWATER, Fla., July 12, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Florida chapter of the Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR), a group co-founded in 1969 by the Church of Scientology and psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz, hosted a conference on the Florida Mental Health law for defense attorneys. The group discussed strategies to effectively serve families and to eradicate violations of the law at the Fort Harrison in downtown Clearwater.

Commonly called the Baker Act, Florida’s mental health law allows for men, women and children to be taken into custody and held for involuntary psychiatric examination across the state. Over a period of 15 years from 2001/2002 to 2015/2016 the number of Baker Acts more than doubled to 194,354 initiations. [1]

The symposium, attended by attorneys from Jacksonville to Fort Myers, covered changes to the mental health law, significant case law and successful actions for defending the rights of citizens being held under the Baker Act.

“This symposium allowed these attorneys to share their successful actions in defending clients being held for involuntary psychiatric examination,” said Diane Stein, President of the Florida chapter of CCHR.

“We intend to keep helping attorneys working in this vital area as much as we can,” she continued. “We owe this to the victims of Baker Act violations that happen in our state every day.”

While the originally stated intention of the Baker Act was to protect the rights of citizens sent for involuntary psychiatric examination, it has become a source of great abuse prompting CCHR Florida to launch a public information campaign in 2016 to educate Floridians on their rights under this law. As part of this campaign, CCHR hosts a seminar regularly delivered at their center in downtown Clearwater by attorney Carmen Miller who, as a former Assistant Public Defender in the Thirteenth Circuit in Tampa, has a great deal of experience on the mental health law. Now in the private sector, Ms. Miller specializes in cases of those who have been Baker Acted. To learn more about the Baker Act or to reserve a seat at the next seminar please call 727-442-8820 or visit http://www.cchrflorida.org/events/.

About CCHR: Initially established by the Church of Scientology and renowned psychiatrist Dr. Thomas Szasz in 1969, CCHR’s mission is to eradicate abuses committed under the guise of mental health and enact patient and consumer protections. It was L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, who brought the terror of psychiatric imprisonment to the notice of the world. In March 1969, he said, “Thousands and thousands are seized without process of law, every week, over the ‘free world’ tortured, castrated, killed. All in the name of ‘mental health.’” For more information visit www.cchrflorida.org.

Sources:

[1] Baker Act Annual Report http://www.usf.edu/cbcs/baker-act/documents/annual_report.pdf

Media Contact:Diane SteinPresident, CCHR Florida727-442-8820 diane@cchrflorida.orgwww.cchrflorida.org