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Does the US military have a Duty to Inform Civilian

Customer Question
Does the US military...

Does the US military have a Duty to Inform Civilian authorities of mental health problems that may cause risks to society?

Lawyer's Assistant: Are you overseas or stateside?

First of all I'm only mother of soldier can you still answer?

Lawyer's Assistant: Have you talked to anyone in the chain of command about this?

No- essentially it's an academic question with relevance to today's news but also a subject that has come to light several times during my work with adolescent offenders and behavioral health patients.

Lawyer's Assistant: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?

Not really- other than as to relevance to my line of work which is administration of behavioral health programs for adolescents- used to be called in patient psych- it also holds relevance for families at risk.

Submitted: 7 months ago.Category: Military Law
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Answered in 9 hours by:
12/23/2017
Military Lawyer: Marsha411JD, Lawyer replied 7 months ago
Marsha411JD
Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Military Law
Satisfied Customers: 20,936
Experience: Licensed attorney and former Navy JAG serving ashore, afloat and at the OJAG
Verified

Hello,

Thank you for the information and your question. There is no duty, or even a right, because of HIPAA, to inform civilian authorities of the mental health of a servicemember. The only exception for any mental health professional is if there is a clear statement of intent by a patient to cause grievous bodily harm to a person or persons. The statement would have to be specific in terms of what they planned to do and it is something they have to be physically able to do.

In other words, a statement, such as, "Sometimes I feel like hurting ________ or blowing something up" is not a specific statement of intent. What would be is something like "I have been planning on blowing up a Federal Building for months" or "I am going to kill _______ this week."

That said, if the servicemember also has been convicted at court-martial of a crime, then those records are available to the public and that conviction if reported to the FBI National crime database and is available to all law enforcement.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. I will be away from my computer for much of the day, but will respond as soon as I am available. If no clarification is needed, then if you could take a moment to reply to this message and let me know that I covered your question, then the Site will give me credit for assisting you today. Thank you

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Military Lawyer: Marsha411JD, Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 23rd. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me, even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating, please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator. Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue, if needed. You can bookmark my page at:http://www.justanswer.com/law/expert-marsha411jd/

Thank you.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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