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Mental Health Commissioner Apologizes To Judge Over Treatment Dispute

Terri White, Commissioner, The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.
ok.gov

State mental health commissioner Terri White has apologized to a judge who threatened to hold her in contempt-of-court because a mentally ill defendant did not get treatment for six months.

The Oklahoman newspaper reports that White promised during a meeting Friday that the judge would be notified if competency treatment cannot be provided for a defendant within a reasonable time.

District Judge Ray C. Elliot dismissed a contempt-of-court proceeding against White after the meeting.

White had been admonished for not transferring a defendant to the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita per Elliot's order. The defendant was transferred to the mental health facility after White's hearing was scheduled.

The commissioner denies violating judicial orders, but acknowledges that judges need to be better informed about a defendant's status, especially since there is a shortage of beds at the mental health facility.

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