Judge Denies Narconon New Hearing
By Michael McNutt
February 6, 1992
An Oklahoma County judge Wednesday stuck by his earlier decision that an unlicensed drug and alcohol treatment center should stop treating patients.
District Judge Leamon Freeman denied an application from Narconon Chilocco New Life Center for a new hearing on whether it could continue to treat patients while appealing a state board's ruling that its program is unsafe and the center should be closed.
Freeman last week denied Narconon Chilocco's original request to remain open and accept new patients.
On Wednesday, a week to the day after Freeman issued his order, lawyers for Narconon Chilocco asked him to reconsider. But Freeman said he still believed the 75-bed facility cannot continue to operate because it never has been licensed.
It wasn't until after the center began accepting patients two years ago that it asked state officials to approve its treatment program.
In December, the Oklahoma Board of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services denied certification for Narconon Chilocco, saying the treatment was medically unsafe and experimental.
Board members ordered Narconon Chilocco to stop admitting new patients and to shut down by late December.
But through legal maneuverings, lawyers for the center were able to find ways to allow the center to treat existing patients until Freeman issued his ruling last week.
District Judge John Amick late last week set Feb. 10 as the deadline for Narconon Chilocco to move its patients out and to stop providing drug and alcohol abuse treatment.
Freeman on Wednesday upheld Monday's deadline.
Harry Woods Jr., a lawyer for Narconon Chilocco, said he will talk with representatives of the center about the setback.
"We're considering what our options are," he said.
Woods asked Freeman to throw out the state mental health board's ruling because board members, after holding more than 16 hours of public hearings, met in closed session to make a decision.
He said the state's Open Meeting Act does not allow public bodies to use closed sessions for that purpose.
But Guy Hurst, a lawyer with the attorney general's office, said a 1983 opinion from the attorney general's office did not require quasi-judicial boards to deliberate and reach a final decision in an open meeting.