In Re Judicial Hospitalization of Carol Helvenston
Southwestern Reporter 1983; 658: 99-106
A mental patient appealed the commitment order of the Tennessee Circuit Court. She argued that her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination had been violated because the information on which a psychiatrist's testimony was based had been obtained from her without benefit of Miranda-type warnings. She also objected to hearsay testimony based on her hospital records, claiming that she had been denied the right to confront the persons who originally had made the entries. The Appeals Court affirmed the judgment of the lower court, holding that Tennessee commitment proceedings are civil, not criminal, and that the Fifth Amendment does not apply. The Court also ruled that, although the hearsay evidence had been admitted improperly, it had neither affected the Circuit Court's judgment nor prejudiced the judicial process. (KIE abstract)
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