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The Baker Act requires that there be “clear and convincing evidence” that the criteria is met for placement, rather than “reason to believe” by one of the specified persons authorized to initiate the examination. Further, the criteria for placement requires that all less restrictive treatment alternatives which would offer an opportunity for improvement of the person’s condition have been judged to be inappropriate.
The burden of proof is by “Clear and Convincing Evidence”, defined in standard jury instructions for criminal cases, and published by the Supreme Court of Florida, No. SC95832, June 15, 2000) as “evidence that is precise, explicit, lacking in confusion, and of such weight that it produces a firm belief or conviction, without hesitation, about the matter at issue”.
394.463 Involuntary examination.
A person may be taken to a receiving facility for involuntary examination if there is reason to believe that the person has a mental illness
and because of his or her mental illness:
(a)1.The person has refused voluntary examination after conscientious explanation and disclosure of the purpose of the examination; or
2.The person is unable to determine for himself or herself whether examination is necessary; and
(b)1.Without care or treatment, the person is likely to suffer from neglect or refuse to care for himself or herself; such neglect or refusal poses a real and present threat of substantial harm to his or her well being; and it is not apparent that such harm may be avoided through the help of willing family members or friends or the provision of other services; or
2.There is a substantial likelihood that without care or treatment the person will cause serious bodily harm to himself or herself or others in the near future, as evidenced by recent behavior. If admitted to a receiving facility for involuntary placement and the above criteria are
documented by the two required psychiatrists, one more criteria must be met that all available less restrictive treatment alternatives which would offer an opportunity for improvement of his or her condition have been judged to be inappropriate.
Anyone can report to the sheriff or any other police department agency if a person needs a mental health evaluation. From what you describe though, she would not meet the criteria as along with the mental illness, the person needs to be a harm to themselves or others and the person would suffer from neglect and not be able to care for themselves. They must meet this standard to be made involuntary.
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