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Old Landmark Cases

Case Name: In re Guardianship of Richard ROE, III

Date, Location, Cite: 1980 MA
421 N. EAST RPTR 40
MASS Supreme Court

Roe was pt. @ Northampton State Hospital due to robbery & attempted Assault. He had already been diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He refused medications, said he was a "Christian. Scientist," not true. Court appointed his father to be Guardian, approve medications. MA Supreme Court said it was ok to get a Guardian, but NOT for a Guardian to decide Rx against his wishes. This can only be done by a Court. which must make a factual determination of patient's wishes, side effects, consequences if not treated, prognosis with Rx, religious beliefs, impact on family. Parens Patriae of State is greater than the Right to refuse treatment if COURT thinks it is needed; Court also said a Guardian should be appointed on Preponderance of Evidence (51+%) standard, not Beyond Reasonable Doubt. Beyond Reasonable Doubt was proper for Civil commitment. [LAW ONLY IN MASS & WORKS POORLY!!]