Ohio law allows any person to be committed to a short stay in a hospital psychiatric ward if a probate judge believes that the person is an immediate threat. Probate Court Administrator John Polito said short-term involuntary commitment is usually granted, and in some cases -- where an ongoing danger is investigated and documented by a court social worker -- a longer-term guardianship is approved.
And the involuntary commitments are often a "revolving door" because as soon as the mentally ill person is stabilized, the law says they have to be released from the hospital.
The issue is how the court interprets what constitutes a danger. Judge Marilyn Cassidy said Guys like Rick Sarver often slip through the cracks. If he was a minor or if he was elderly there would be much stronger systems -- the Juvenile Court and adult protective services -- in place to investigate his condition.
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Agencies, courts often powerless in helping mentally ill