On Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Orange County's Board of Supervisors
Unanimously voted to implement Laura's Law in Orange County
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Editorial: Adopting Laura's Law the right choice for O.C
If court-ordered treatment for mentally ill is successful here, other counties could follow.
Published in Orange County Register - Opinion Section
May 14, 2014 Updated: 4:28 p.m.
We strongly congratulate the Orange County Board of Supervisors for adopting Laura’s Law, allowing courts to order the mentally ill into outpatient treatment when they have demonstrated they can neither control nor care for themselves. Orange County is now the first government agency in California to proactively begin to address what has become one of our most shameful civic failures.
When California’s rural Nevada County adopted Laura’s Law by court order, jail sentences, homelessness, hospitalizations and emergency responses all dropped significantly in both frequency and cost.
We hope for similar results, but as the first large urban county to adopt Laura’s Law, it is up to us to pay close attention to what happens next; if we see the same results, the rest of the nation will undoubtedly sit up and take notice.
This is the right choice for all the people of Orange County, but we know this is only the first step on a long road. There are many challenges ahead, among them lawsuits from opponents who believe court- ordered treatment is trampling on the rights of the mentally ill.
We understand and respect their position, but we ask them to realize that what we are doing now isn’t working.
Simply throwing more money at a dysfunctional process legally hamstrung by a lack of effective, enforceable options will only lead to more preventable human tragedy.
We do not support anything that might imperil individual freedom of choice lightly, but it would be deeply irresponsible to continue to ignore the danger the mentally ill pose to themselves and others.
The public has the right to live free from fear. The mentally ill deserve the help they need to break out of the endless cycle of homelessness, addiction, arrest and serial incarceration so many face.Let’s have no more massacres like those in Aurora, Colo. or at Virginia Tech. Let’s have no more Sandy Hooks, and no more pointless deaths like that of Kelly Thomas. Let’s have no more of the countless, less public tragedies that shatter individual lives on a daily basis.
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Presiding Judge, Superior Court of CaliforniaCounty of Nevada