- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

NATCHEZ, Miss. (AP) - Adams County will pay more to lawyers, judges and doctors for participating in lunacy hearings.

The Natchez Democrat reports (https://bit.ly/1qpyyGZ) the board of supervisors acted after hearing a report that few attorneys were taking on such cases.

Lunacy cases are expensive because the county must pay for the person’s mental and medical evaluations, a court-appointed attorney to represent them and sometimes for a court-appointed special master to hear the case. The hearing identifies individuals with mental disability and determines what treatment or, if necessary, what confinement is best for them.

Attorney Jack Lazarus told the board that the chancery court, which hears lunacy cases, had had for several years had difficulty obtaining doctors, certified psychiatrists and nurse practitioners to work in its commitment hearings. He said now the county is having trouble getting enough participating attorneys.

“We have desperately mentally ill people who we can’t get treated at Whitfield because we can’t get our professionals together,” he said.

The supervisors approved Lazarus’ request for an increase of $25 an hour in pay for all of those involved in the hearings. The adjustment will bring payments to doctors and judges to $200 an hour and attorneys to $175 an hour.

Lazarus said the chancery court hears four to six lunacy cases a month and hearings last between one and two hours. He said the court currently has five attorneys who help with lunacy hearings.


Information from: The Natchez Democrat, https://www.natchezdemocrat.com/

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