In the Matter of C. W.

In 2017, R.M. and C.W., were committed to the South Mississippi State Hospital (SMSH) to be treated for mental illness. As required under the commitment statute, both R.M. and C.W. were evaluated by court-appointed physicians, one a medical doctor, the other a psychologist. In the cases of both individuals, the evaluating physicians were the same two physicians. And in both cases, the physicians’ recommendations were the same: the medical doctor found that both individuals were, to some degree, mentally ill and thus needed treatment; the psychologist found that both individuals were not mentally ill and did not need treatment. The issue this case presented for the Mississippi Supreme Court’s review centered on whether Mississippi Code Section 41-21-77 allows a director of a state hospital independently to override a commitment order of a chancery court for treatment of mental illness. The Court held it does not. Because this statutory question came to the Court by way of a citation of contempt, this case also required the Court to review the citation of contempt to determine whether the chancery court’s classification of the contempt was correct and whether correct procedures were followed in the finding of contempt. To this, the Court found the chancery court erred in its contempt determination. Accordingly, the Court reversed the chancery court’s contempt finding, remanded the case for an entry of an order of recusal, and otherwise ordered further proceedings. View "In the Matter of C. W." on Justia Law