Just recently the New Jersey expungement lawyers at Katherine O’Brien Law represented an individual in Ocean County, New Jersey, on his mental health commitment expungement. After attending the hearing on our client’s mental health commitment expungement, the Judge ultimately agreed that our client’s mental health commitment record was eligible for expungement and therefore entered an order granting our expungement request.
Our client’s involuntary civil commitment took place over 15 years ago and was our client’s only civil commitment. He was committed to a mental health facility as a result of his recent suicide threats. At the time of his commitment, our client was only 21 years old and was going through a low point in his life. He had just recently broken up with his significant other and was let go from his job due to his medical condition at the time.
According to the civil commitment records that we provided to the court, which included our client’s mental health records, our client was cooperative throughout his stay at the mental health facility. During his time there, he engaged in individual and group counseling and learned effective mechanisms by which to deal with life stressors. He also underwent medication management.
Our client was discharged from the facility approximately one week later. At the time of his discharge his condition was noted to have been significantly improved. Our client did not undergo any subsequent mental health treatment – whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting.
Our client explained that us that he wanted to pursue a career in a field that required him to obtain a firearms permit. He further explained that he had previously applied for such a permit but was denied due to his civil commitment record.
In addition to drafting a petition setting forth the circumstances surrounding our client’s commitment and enclosing a complete copy of his commitment record, we also provided the court with information relating to our client’s criminal history, which was relatively minor and included one juvenile adjudication and two adult ordinance violations. In addition, we provided the court with character references letters from individuals in the community who attested to our client’s sound reputation.
Finally, we provided the court with a report from a licensed psychologist who our client has undergone a recent evaluation with. This psychologist concluded that, after reviewing the mental health records and meeting with the client for a psychological evaluation, our client did not pose a danger to either himself or others, that there was no danger in our client possessing firearms, and that our client had fully recovered from the psychological condition which lead to his commitment more than 15 years ago.
At the hearing on this matter, the judge heard testimony from both our client and expert psychologist on the circumstances surrounding the commitment, the client’s mental health history and criminal history, and his reputation in the community.
In the end, the Judge agreed that our client had demonstrated that he was eligible for the relief of expungement and, accordingly, entered an order expunging his criminal record. Notably, the order further granted the client relief from federal firearms disability and directed the County Adjuster to remove all information relating to the civil commitment record from inclusion in the federal National instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) databases.
For more information about civil commitment expungements in New Jersey, read our guide to Mental Health Expungements in New Jersey.
If you have questions relating to the expungement of civil commitment record in New Jersey, contact Katherine O’Brien Law today for a free consultation. You can reach us at 856-832-2482.