Court grants Reformer request for access to commitment records

BRATTLEBORO - On Friday morning, Judge John Wesley granted the Reformer's request for documents related to an involuntary commitment hearing on Jan. 25.

In making his decision, Wesley concluded the public has a right to know what statements were made by the person who was subject to the hearing that caused concern in the community to the point local school districts implemented precautionary security measures.

At the same time, Wesley intimated that once full disclosure has been made, the public will realize there is no link to statements made and the school districts' reactions.

Nonetheless, he said, the public has the right to know what precipitated the community's reaction. Wesley did grant a motion made by an attorney from the Mental Health Law Project for a 10-day stay of release of documentation while he files an appeal of the decision.

The keeper of the records denied the initial request to obtain the documents but the Reformer appealed and Wesley, a family division judge in Vermont Superior Court, scheduled the Friday morning hearing to hear the appeal.

Reformer Day Editor Bob Audette represented the newspaper, arguing access to those documents was in the public's best interest. He also argued it was in the court's best interest to be transparent in the decision-making process behind its ruling not to allow for the involuntary commitment of the person in question.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions