Florida's scheme of involuntary commitment is unconstitutional, the Eleventh Circuit rules

J.R. v. Hansen, No. 12-14212 (11th Cir. Oct. 15, 2015).

About two years ago, the Eleventh Circuit asked the Florida Supreme Court to clarify the Florida laws governing involuntary commitment of people with intellectual disabilities. The Florida Supreme Court has now done so. And it has made clear that, under Florida law, the state has no duty to periodically review whether an involuntarily committed person still meets the criteria for commitment. 

But due process requires the state to periodically review involuntary commitment, the Eleventh Circuit holds. This doesn’t require a full-blown adversarial hearing, but it does require some kind of periodic review by an official who can order release if the criteria for commitment are no longer met. So Florida’s commitment scheme is unconstitutional. The case is remanded to the district court, which presumably will have to fashion an appropriate injunction.