Gov. William Donald Schaefer has taken a swipe at the Maryland Disability Law Center by refusing to sign a form that would expedite release of $260,000 in federal funds to defend the rights of the mentally ill in state hospitals. The administration insists there is justification for this action, which is little more than a warning to MDLC to stop suing the state at every turn.
Other legal services groups that represent individuals in state facilities have reached formal protocols with the Schaefer administration to resolve disputes. This often has led to resolutions without opting for the expensive court route.
But MDLC has aggressively pursued legal remedies rather than seeking to work things out. The group also has been accused of trying to increase its income by suing the state for giant legal fees in these court cases.
Prolonged and costly lawsuits on behalf of the mentally ill aren't always the best route. Sometimes, though, they are necessary. But for goodness sake, let's talk about it first. Other groups do.