When a Pierce County judge declared last spring that it was unconstitutional to put involuntarily committed residents in emergency rooms, officials successfully pleaded for a delay in the ruling so they could “think about” new ways to “attack the problem” of not having enough treatment beds for mentally ill residents.
Superior Court Judge Kathryn Nelson will decide Tuesday whether to extend her stay, weighing civil liberties and community safety in the latest in a highly charged and closely watched case that could affect the entire state.
Nelson said after her ruling that she was “reluctant at this point to stay it any longer than six months.”
But state officials, who are appealing the ruling, plan to argue that if Nelson does not extend the stay, they will have no choice but to release dangerous people to the streets when no treatment beds are available.
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Despite inaction, state seeks more time on fix for ‘boarding’ mentally ill