Consider what happened to 52-year-old Heidi Sweeney, a homeless resident of Huntington Beach who was arrested for petty theft and public drunkenness. When taken before the CARE Court, Sweeney was given an ultimatum: either go to jail or agree to get "treated" with psychiatric drugs and other state-sanctioned remedies.
Sweeney later said, according to NPR, that she is "so thankful that they did that," referring to her allowance to receive treatment rather than be put behind bars. "I needed that. I think there's others out there that need it, too."
Perhaps for some people, the CARE Court really is their best option to transition back into society as a non-criminal, especially when mental illness really is the cause of their problems, as appears to have been the case for Sweeney – but what happens when the state starts going after others whom it deems to be mentally ill?
During Donald Trump's presidency, his supporters were blasted by the media as being mentally ill – because who else would support Trump other than a nutcase, according to the talking-heads? And what about people who deny that man-made climate change is real? They, too, are being categorized as "climate deniers" who have a few screws loose.
Once the door is opened to allow the state free rein to determine who is mentally ill and who is not in matters relating to the law, a slippery slope is created. And this is exactly what California's CARE Court system is paving the way for: a new world in which those who disagree with the established order, whatever it may be, are relegated to the loony bin for their "errant" beliefs.
(Related: Did you hear the good news? California's "medical misinformation" law was just shot down by the courts for unconstitutionally muzzling the free speech of doctors throughout the state.)
In the coming weeks, California is planning to establish a state-wide system of all-new CARE Courts, including in the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as in Orange County. The rest of the state will receive their own CARE Courts in 2024, we are told.
"Under the new system, family members and first responders can ask county judges to order people with psychotic illness into treatment, even if they are not unhoused or haven't committed a crime," NPR reports. "A judge will then determine if a person meets criteria for the program and may oversee a care agreement or compel a treatment plan. That treatment plan could even include involuntary commitment."
Last year, the California state legislature passed a bill to create these CARE Courts with near-unanimous support amid growing frustration among voters with the increasing number of homeless people across the state. Because of California's mild and desirable climate, the state has long been a magnet for homeless people from all across the country and even world to land and live on the streets.
Not everyone supports the CARE Courts, though. Disability rights groups say that it is a violation of civil rights to compel people who "have done nothing wrong" to undergo a psychiatric evaluation and start taking mind-altering pharmaceuticals just because the state has decided that their beliefs and actions demonstrate mental illness.
"That tension – between those who advocate for treatment being voluntary and those who say the status quo allows people to die in the streets 'with their rights on' – is playing out all over the state of California," NPR explains.
In Orange County, it has already been decided that the CARE Courts there will not coerce anyone to undergo psychiatric treatments unless they willingly agree to of their own accord – especially when the individual does not believe that he or she is mentally ill.
"We don't want to punish people," stated Maria Hernandez, the presiding just for the Orange County Superior Court. "We want them to maintain their dignity."
The same cannot necessarily be said for CARE Courts in other cities and counties, though. In far-left areas like San Francisco – Orange County tends to lean conservative, after all – it is not beyond the scope of possibility that a few rogue judges and police departments might try to send conservative Trump supporters and climate deniers to the mad house, or else face possible jail time.
In the age of lawlessness, anything is possible with laws like this on the books. It is already being estimated that as many as 1,500 California residents every year will "qualify" for admission into a CARE Court, though the promise is that the process will be "as benign and nonthreatening as possible."
Since efforts to overturn the CARE Court law before the state Supreme Court have thus far been unsuccessful, those opposed to it say they are now gearing up for its rollout in a similar manner as "disaster preparedness," considering its wild implications for state residents.
The latest news about the government assault on free speech, which is now being disguised as concern for people's mental health, can be found at Fascism.news.
Sources for this article include: