by: Jane Phelan
Wednesday, August 1, 2012
In a startling reversal of fortune, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled last Friday to stay the revocation of activist psychologist Dr. Robert Fettgather’s license to practice psychology.
Dr. Fettgather’s license had been ordered revoked in May after he refused to submit to a psychiatric examination ordered by the California State Psychology Board. The revocation was set to come into force on July 27. The stay grants Dr. Fettgather permission to work as a licensed psychologist until the writ can be heard requesting the Board’s decision be entirely overturned.
Blasting the Psychology Board for launching an action against Fettgather without justification, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley declared that the Board lacked good cause to compel him into a psychiatric evaluation. Judge Frawley also raised concerns that the Administrative Law court further denied Fettgather’s right to due process in refusing to hear any evidence from Fettgather. According to Fettgather’s attorney, Dr. Bruce Ebert, Frawley also raised questions as to the cavalier manner in which the Psychology Board had attempted to force Fettgather into a psychiatric exam.
In an interview July 30, Ebert stated, “If there was any part of government that should understand the seriousness of ordering someone to undergo a forced psychiatric exam it should be the Board which regulates the practice of psychology.” Ebert went on to say, “We all need to be concerned when psychiatry is used as a weapon rather than as a tool for mental health.”
Fettgather had run into difficulties last year when his advocacy for his disabled son, David, who is under a conservatorship and held in custodial care, raised the ire of a State Assemblyman. Doctor Fettgather had spoken at a Town Hall meeting and criticized Assemblyman Jim Beall for failure to follow through on the plight of David. Assemblyman Beall then made a report to the Dignitaries Protection Unit of the California Highway Patrol, alleging that Fettgather had threatened him. The report was investigated and considered to be of no merit, according to the CHP. However, shortly thereafter the State Psychology Board contacted Dr. Fettgather and stated that they were investigating him.