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In most states,' parents may commit their children to mental institutions without a hearing or any other form of judicial scrutiny. If a parent wants a child committed, and a hospital will accept the child as a patient, no legal authority will hear the child's protest. Moreover, the child-patient has no standing to petition for release from the institution until he or she reaches the statutory age of majority. Until that time any request for discharge must be made by the parent. Thus, the minor admitted to a mental hospital on application of a parent is denied access to virtually all procedural protections-notice, hearing, appellate review, and habeas corpus-rights afforded all other patients institutionalized against their will.

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California Law Review



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disability law



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