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Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:50 AM

UColorado began a "threat assessment" against James Holmes 6 wks. before shooting

because his psychiatrist had seen signs that he might be a danger to others -- but the University dropped the assessment when he dropped out of school. The police weren't informed.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/01/justice/colorado-theater-shooting-psychiatrist/index.html

A court document filed Friday revealed Holmes was a patient of University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton before the attack.

Dr. Lynne Fenton expressed her concerns about James Holmes six weeks before the July 20 killings.
Sources told KMGH that Fenton contacted several members of a "behavioral evaluation and threat assessment" team to say Holmes could potentially be a danger to others, the station reported.

The "BETA" team consists of "key" staff members from various university departments who have specific expertise in dealing with assessing potential threats on campus, the school says on its website.
Holmes was a doctoral student at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus until June, when he withdrew from the program.

SNIP

"Fenton made initial phone calls about engaging the BETA team" in "the first 10 days" of June but it "never came together" because in the period Fenton was having conversations with team members, Holmes began the process of dropping out of school, a source told KMGH.

Sources told the station that when Holmes withdrew, the BETA team "had no control over him."

SNIP

27 replies, 3151 views

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Arrow 27 replies Author Time Post
Reply UColorado began a "threat assessment" against James Holmes 6 wks. before shooting (Original post)
pnwmom Aug 2012 OP
Amak8 Aug 2012 #1
HereSince1628 Aug 2012 #8
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2012 #20
alcibiades_mystery Aug 2012 #2
Kalidurga Aug 2012 #3
MADem Aug 2012 #6
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2012 #22
Beaverhausen Aug 2012 #4
Bjorn Against Aug 2012 #11
cbdo2007 Aug 2012 #13
Beaverhausen Aug 2012 #15
Bjorn Against Aug 2012 #17
cbdo2007 Aug 2012 #27
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2012 #23
Marrah_G Aug 2012 #19
orionhunter1986 Aug 2012 #5
exboyfil Aug 2012 #7
pipoman Aug 2012 #10
RobinA Aug 2012 #12
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2012 #24
pipoman Aug 2012 #9
pnwmom Aug 2012 #14
Johonny Aug 2012 #16
dixiegrrrrl Aug 2012 #25
SoCalDem Aug 2012 #18
Liberal_in_LA Aug 2012 #21
ladjf Aug 2012 #26

Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:57 AM

1. This is why we need Medicare for all.

Everyone passes the buck, covers their ass. Their goal was accomplished: he did not shoot up the campus. Of course, negative externalities were dumped on the broader public. The richest country on earth can afford to pay for the mentally ill to have the same consistent doctors and psychs.

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Response to Amak8 (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 07:37 AM

8. I can see how that line of reasoning might work, if money were the issue.

The details of how his participation as an out-patient ended haven't been clearly reported. I don't think it's been revealed whether or not he dropped out of care because of money.

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Response to Amak8 (Reply #1)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:03 PM

20. Even if he had all the money/insurance in the world,

refusing to keep appointments with your shrink/Mental Health cannot be prevented.

Even if he lived in a mandatory committment state, he had not shown enough symptoms to be locked up and evaluated.
The ONLY thing a Mental Health doc/therapist can do is to document that a patient is non-compliant with appointments.
Suppose the doc called police and said " I think I have a client who *may* be a risk to self or others".
The police are supposed to do what, exactly?
There are no laws that apply to help the police do anything.


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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:59 AM

2. "Not our problem..."

Oh well.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:02 AM

3. We need a lawyers opinion on this.

I could be wrong, but I think they are still required to go to the police. Even if he dropped out they still have knowledge he is a danger to others. And they are still mandated reporters, I think. If they were outside the University they would definitely be liable.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:07 AM

6. Well, if the team hadn't had a chance to formulate any conclusions, I'm not sure what the police

would have done. Or could have done.

"Pre-crime" unit? The psychiatrist had a hunch and called in others to evaluate, but the person they were evaluating flew the coop.

It's horribly unfortunate, but I am not so sure the police would have been helpful.

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Response to Kalidurga (Reply #3)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:06 PM

22. What is the mandate law in that state?

Most mandated reports concern sexual abuse of children, and, in some states, exploitation/abuse of elderly..ie: those unable to report for themselves.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:03 AM

4. Doesn't the psychiatrist still have a responsibility

To inform authorities if she felt he was a threat?

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Response to Beaverhausen (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:32 AM

11. No, not unless she has evidence of criminal activity

Simply thinking someone might potentially be a threat is not enough reason for the police to take action.

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Response to Bjorn Against (Reply #11)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:20 AM

13. It is enough to get them locked up in mental institution for assessment.

I'm in the mental health field. It happens all the time for people who pose a threat to themselves or others.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:06 AM

15. Thank you. I knew that if one posed a threat to oneself the doctor had to let someone know

I wasn't sure if it was threat to others as well.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:20 PM

17. Not quite that simple

Getting someone locked in a mental hospital requires more than just a worry, you have to be able to show a very serious threat. It is unlikely this person had enough evidence of a credible threat to justify locking him up.

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Response to Bjorn Against (Reply #17)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 05:22 PM

27. I embellished a little bit for dramatic effect re "locked in a mental institution"....

but the doctor can have them admitted to a mental institution for assessment which usually lasts 24 hours, if they suspect serious SI (suicidal ideation) or HI (homicidal ideation). It's a judgement call for the doc and is usually done using some type of "risk assessment" test they will give the person.

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Response to cbdo2007 (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:07 PM

23. Is the Holmes' state one of the invol. committment states?

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Response to Beaverhausen (Reply #4)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:22 PM

19. Not unless it was a very specific threat to a person or himself

And I believe, even then the Dr is required to inform the target of the threat and not the police.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 02:03 AM

5. Spam deleted by CaliforniaPeggy (MIR Team)

 

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:43 AM

7. She can break confidentiality with the school administration

but not local police? I am really confused. I got to think U of Colorado might be getting some lawsuits thrown their way.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:21 AM

10. The police would have told them

they could do nothing at all until/unless he commits a criminal act. The school knows this. Things have changed since Raygun defunded state mental health services.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:41 AM

12. In Order

to go outside the institution she would have needed a specific threat, not "James might be dangerous sometime somewhere." It would have to be "James stated that he is going to shoot Jane the next time he sees her in Starbucks." Not sure what the law would be if she knew about the arsenal. Probably the same.

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Response to exboyfil (Reply #7)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:09 PM

24. Having been involved in lawsuits after the fact

I can tell you that the University simply has to point to their documented efforts to comply with any appicable laws.
I emphasixe "documented" which includes documenting that the client had left treatment.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 08:19 AM

9. It used to be

if a person was suspected of being a danger to themselves or others by a close family member or other recognized source (like a psychiatrist) they could be reported to police who could take them into custody for an evaluation, usually at a "state hospital". If the hospital determined the person was a danger to themselves or others, they could involuntarily hold the person until the danger was gone, usually after some sort of drug or treatment stabilization. Then Raygun cut federal funding to states to help pay for mental health services and diverted that money to his losing war on drugs. In the immediate years following the defunding, states began closing the "state hospitals", moving the convicted criminally insane to medical wards at prisons, leaving no place for civil commitments or psych evaluations. Now, unless one has enough money to self pay, there is no mechanism for intervention until a person commits a criminal act. If the college would have contacted the police, absolutely nothing would have happened unless he had done something criminal. I would very much like to see statistical analysis of the effects of defunding state mental health services on criminal acts by people later determined to be mentally ill. We know that the defunding put millions of mental patients on the streets, homeless..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 09:47 AM

14. Thanks for the explanation, pipoman. n/t

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Response to pipoman (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 11:18 AM

16. I believe Jimmy Carter and his wife talk about this issue a lot

but no one listens to the Carters

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Response to pipoman (Reply #9)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:16 PM

25. Actually, there IS a non-criminal act mechanism, in SOME states.

Fla. and Ala. and some other states do have Crisis Eval. centers, paid for by State MH funds, and backed by state law that people can be kept for 72 hours for psych eval.
In Ala. the police or the hospitals call the MH staff to come do the eval.
Most of the time in my experience, the client is pretty willing to agree to a 72 hour eval.
If not willing, a judge has to sign a committment order..I have had to wake a few judges up at 2 am to get an order signed so the local police could take the client to the Crisis Center after my eval. showed there was good reason to hold them.


In Fla. the 72 hour hold covers substance abuse and well as psychiatric emergencies, via the Baker Act.
and in Fla. a psychiatrist has to order the hold, and a judge rules on it during the earliest court session.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 01:22 PM

18. She may have told him...that could have been why he dropped out suddenly

as a "former" student, they would drop the whole thing..and apparently they did

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 03:04 PM

21. wow. 12 people could have been saved.

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Response to pnwmom (Original post)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 04:11 PM

26. "had no control over him." is not the main issue. The fact was that a psychiatrist had information

from the patient that caused her to believe that he was dangerous. Her legal obligation as a
mental health professional was to first contact the appropriate law enforcement authorities and
secondly, the officials at her University. Law enforcement should have been the primary driver of the potential threat investigation The fact that the University dropped the inquiry because the student had withdrawn was unwise, careless and possibly illegal, especially from the psychiatrist's position.





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