Civil Commitments, MDO and SVP cases
MDO stands for Mentally Disordered Offenders and SVP stands for Sexually Violent predators. Freedom and privacy are valued greatly by most people and are protected by the U.S. and California Constitutions. When a court defines you as mentally ill and orders you to a mental health institution you lose freedom and privacy. Because you risk losing your freedom, your individual rights must be protected during civil commitment. This is called due process.
In order to commit you, the court must find that you 1) have a “mental illness,” and 2) are a danger to others. In the civil commitment process you have a right to information in order to understand your rights, including the right to legal representation by your lawyer or one appointed by the court.
The civil commitment process is not always fair or just. Commitment does not always happen as the law says it should, either because legal procedures are not followed or are due to misinformed beliefs about risk of re-offending. If people carry unfair attitudes and beliefs into the civil commitment process, the results will probably be unfair. This is especially true of Sexually Violent Predator proceedings and trials.
People have had great difficulty getting out of psychiatric hospitals. Once you are in, it’s easy to keep you. IN MDO cases, your petition must be renewed once a year. In SVP cases, you get one trial and then you are locked up for LIFE.
Mr. Melnik has extensive experience in psychiatric cases, ranging from involuntary medications being administered to inmates against their will, to MDO civil commitment cases, to over a dozen successful SVP cases defended with clients being released.
Mr. Melnik has worked with dozens of psychologists and psychiatrists, some pre-eminent in their field in order to successfully obtain releases of his clients. Having worked with so many doctors, Mr. Melnik can select the specific doctors most relevant to your case to help get you out of custody.