WOULD YOU BUY A
USED COURT FROM THIS JUDGE?
locked up in a psychiatric hospital against
your will. Maybe your family got a warrant
or called the cops on you, maybe you went
into the emergency room and they kept you.
The hospital wants to give you powerful
drugs. You don't want to be drugged, and you
want to get out.
This is your day in court.
You know you're not suicidal or about to
attack anyone. You know you have a right to
refuse the drugs. You think the judges will
listen to your side of the story, and maybe
you will get out.
Anything your boyfriend, mother,
landlord, or caseworker told the
psychiatrist or hospital staff is going
to be used against you. Even though it's
The psychiatrist whom you may have
trusted is going to tell your secrets
and make you look bad. If you didn't
talk to him/her, you have, probably been
On the subject of paranoia, you might
think that is a very serious and
frightening word to describe somebody.
You have said it jokingly though. Guess
what? If you complain about being
mistreated, if you are afraid of being
harmed in the hospital, or if you use
words like "poison" to describe their
drugs, this word "paranoia" will be used
quite seriously about you.
You know that when you testify, you sit
in the witness stand. That shows your
testimony is serious. But nobody really
cares what you say, and you don't get to
take the stand. (Maybe the Judge is
afraid of catching something from you .)
After you speak, the judge might ask you
questions that he won't let you explain
your answers to. This is good
cross-examination, and you might have
expected it from the hospital's
attorney, but isn't the judge supposed
to be neutral and listen for the whole
truth? Or again, if you speak well, the
judge might refuse to consider your
testimony for herself, but turn to the
psychiatrist and ask if anything you
said changed his/her opinion. (Of course
not, he/she came there to keep you
locked up and/or have you drugged.)
No matter what you say, the overwhelming
likelihood (98% according to the New
York Times) in the Brooklyn Mental
Hygiene Court is that you will have to
do what the psychiatrists want. Judge
Duberstein brags that she attended a
seminar where psychiatrists instructed
her about listening to their testimony.
Rivera acts as if he has done the same.
Neither of them upholds the law, which
says you have to be dangerous to be held
against your will; and only if you are
unable to decide for yourself, can the
court consider the "risks and benefits"
of the drugs to decide whether to force
it on you.
For your information, the drug of choice
for involuntary administration is
Haldol, because it comes in a
long-acting form and they only have to
be bothered once a month to inject you.
Haldol is one of the most feared and
complained of drugs, with side effects
ranging from unbearable need to keep
moving, to muscular spasms, to low blood
pressure, sudden death, Neuroleptic
Malignant Syndrome (toxicity that can be
fatal) and tardive dyskinesia, which is
irreversible and gives people the
uncontrollable movements that stigmatize
you and can cause you to choke.
Judge Maxine Duberstein has
held onto the Mental Hygiene court in
Brooklyn as her private territory for 12
years. Her alternate, Judge Reinaldo Rivera,
has apparently been sworn to uphold the
traditions as she established them.
You might have seen leaflets
about Duberstein earlier this year, when we
were trying to stop her from being
recertified. Although she has decided to
resign at the end of this year, Rivera in
the driver's seat is nothing to look forward
Several times in the past,
people had attempted to put in a rotation
system, where judges would serve in this
part for a month at a time. There is a 1ist
of five judges, including Rivera, who are
supposed to participate in this rotation.
(This is how it is done in other boroughs.)
If you wish to participate in the
campaign to bring fairness and justice to
the Mental Hygiene Court, please contact us
at the address below. You may also write to
Judge Jonathan Lippman, Chief Administrative
Judge, 270 Broadway, New York, NY 10007,
expressing your concerns.
Bet Your Ass We're Paranoid * P O Box
471173 * Brooklyn NY 11247