Vermont Legislators Propose Changing “Insanity” Defense, Expanding Powers to Commit


Legislators in the state of Vermont are considering significant changes to mental health laws which are drawing concern from mental health advocates, reports WCAX. “One of the biggest changes in the law is in name alone. In criminal court, defendants would no longer claim insanity as a defense, instead it would be called ‘lack of capacity.'” In addition, more professionals will have powers to certify patients.

“There’s a whole range of changes where they’re trying to take away rights that people have now,” Jack McCullough of Vermont Legal Aid told WCAX. “They’re broadening the number of people who can initiate involuntary commitment.”

According to WCAX, the new law will allow qualified nurses and physician assistants, not just doctors and psychiatrists, to certify a patient as mentally ill. “Backers of that change say it would help patients get treatment faster.”

Concerns over proposed changes to Vt. mental health law (WCAX, January 6, 2014)


  1. According to my medical records, I was forcibly committed, held against my will, and forcibly treated, for a non-existent UTI …. oh, and “adjustment disorder.” And that by a psychiatrist who was V R Kuchipudi’s “snowing” partner in crime at an earlier encounter.

    I don’t think we need more “medical professionals” being given the right to forcible hold and torture people for profit. Since not even the doctors are ethical enough to handle the right to forcible “treat” patients.

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  2. Help patients get treatment faster? I’m wondering about the response times.

    I know from a call being made, to a whack team of two police and three mental health nurses dragging me out of my bed in my pyjamas, throwing me into a police van and delivering me to a locked ward, two hours here. Fortunately I didn’t complain too much or I would have been dribbling from the mouth in two hours and ten minutes. Maybe they are aiming for pizza delivery time?

    As far as expanding the number of people who can involuntarily commit? Big mistake, powers used for things like not cleaning your house to required standards. Morality policing at it’s best. Leave that for ISIS.

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