Letters to the editor
March 13, 2013
Judges have job, and it's not to administer
Washoe County District Court Judge Chuck Weller's response to state Sen. Ben Kieckhefer's efforts to prevent the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining a gun was quite disturbing. His explanation as to why so very few mental patients were found to be such a danger as to require an involuntary commitment was troubling.
Judge Weller claims in "almost" every case his responsibility is to follow the recommendations of the professional psychiatrists and psychologists who evaluated the subject. If Judge Weller's claim that "judges are not to substitute their judgement for the doctor's," then the law or the judge needs to be changed. What are the judge's claimed exceptions not to follow the recommendations of the health care experts? If Judge Weller's contention is true, he and all Nevada judges who hear mental competency cases are not judging but merely administering.
Psychiatrists and psychologists who make recommendations to the court are not any different from any expert who provides the court with expert testimony. The weight of their testimony is based upon their professional credibility. The court can either accept or reject the experts' opinions and recommendations.
Perhaps Judge Weller could testify before the appropriate Senate Committee charged with examining this important issue. He then could describe those mysterious exceptions to rejecting the experts' recommendations. Obviously, something needs fixing.
Recommended Stories For You
Obama, stop sending bad guys to club fed
Obama has not done one thing to stop bad guys with guns.
How about this: real jail time with hard labor and a real death sentence for bad guys that kill with guns? No more club fed. What a thought!