The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office represents the State of Texas in Civil Mental Health Commitments. These cases are filed when individuals have a mental illness and become a danger to themselves or others. The Texas Mental Health Code provides a process for the State to protect the public safety interest while balancing the individual’s right to refuse treatment. The mental health prosecutors are charged with the duty to represent the State’s interest in ensuring the public safety by seeking involuntary mental health treatment through trials held in the Tarrant County Statutory Probate Courts. The assistant district attorneys prepare between 50 and 60 cases per week for trial; this includes interviewing civil and law enforcement witnesses, psychiatrists, social workers and family members. The courts appoint attorneys to represent proposed patients and to protect the proposed patient’s rights to remain at liberty and refuse treatment.
The Criminal District Attorney’s Office represented the State in over 3000 involuntary mental health commitment cases in 2013. The number of cases filed each year has increased at the rate of approximately 10 percent per year since 2010.
The Mental Health prosecutors of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office also represent the Texas Department of Health and Human Services, Adult Protective Services, in emergency protective order removals. These cases are filed when it is determined that there is an imminent danger to the health and safety of an incapacitated elderly or disabled individual that is suffering from abuse, neglect or exploitation. These cases allow for the emergency protection and medical treatment of individuals that are in life threatening conditions.
The Mental Health attorneys of the Criminal District Attorney’s Office also represent the State of Texas in cases that require commitment orders to provide necessary services for individuals with intellectual disability. When individuals incapacitated with an intellectual disability require the care and services of a state supported living center, a commitment order must be obtained through the Tarrant County Courts at Law.
The Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney’s Office also represents the Texas Department of Health in Communicable Disease Commitments (such as tuberculosis) that represent a danger to the public health.
Resources for information and assistance with mental health issues include:
MHMR of Tarrant County (MHMR) is located at 3840 Hulen Street, North Tower, Fort Worth, TX 76107. Their main number is 817-569-4300. MHMR of Tarrant County provides a crisis line with emergency mental health support, referrals and information, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year at 817-335-3022 or 1-800-866-2465.
Trinity Springs Pavilion for Psychiatric Services, 1500 South Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76104. (817)702-3636