Kenneth Donaldson has done nothing criminal or dangerous, yet he is held for against his will for 15 years in Florida State Hospital.
422 U.S. 563 (1975)
"No State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."
|"Mere public intolerance cannot justify the deprivation of a person's physical liberty."|
MP3 (1:00) — Chattahoochee, Florida, 1957. Kenneth Donaldson is committed to Florida State Hospital. Why? Because his father insists Kenneth suffers from "delusions." He's done nothing criminal or dangerous, but Kenneth is held against his will for 15 years, until he sues for his freedom.
In l975, a unanimous Supreme Court declares, "May the State fence in the harmless mentally ill solely to save its citizens from exposure to those whose ways are different? One might as well ask if the State, to avoid public unease, could incarcerate all who are physically unattractive or socially eccentric. Mere public intolerance or animosity cannot constitutionally justify the deprivation of a person's physical liberty." Justice Potter Stewart writes: "The mere presence of mental illness does not disqualify a person from preferring his home to an institution.