By AlaskaWatchman.com

Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla)

Alaska State Representatives David Eastman (R-Wasilla) and Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake) stood on House Floor Jan. 25 to address the disturbing treatment of prominent Mat-Su resident Mary Fulp.

Alaska State Troopers forcibly removed Fulp from her home last week, after some of her family members mistakenly thought she was a danger to herself, and in need of a court-ordered, involuntary detainment in a mental health facility.

Fulp is the 2022 Alaska Principal of the Year, and is currently on administrative leave as principal of Colony High School.

Some of her family members, however, were worried after she posted a four-hour video recounting a recent life-changing religious experience, in which she claimed to have received special graces from God, including the gift of speaking in tongues.

On Jan. 24, Alaska’s Commissioner of Public Safety James Cockrell issued a public apology, saying the Troopers “made a mistake” by transporting Fulp against her will, because they had no legal authorization to do so. He said law enforcement “should have taken additional steps to verify the information presented by the complainant and the validity of the court order.”

He added that the state is “taking necessary steps to ensure that incidents like this never happen again.”

On Jan. 25, Eastman told his fellow lawmakers that more must be done.

Mary Fulp

“Separate from what the Department of Public Safety will be doing with their policies, I believe this issue … rises to the point where we, as the Legislature should inquire, and should hold a hearing and investigate this matter, because this is not just what happened to one individual,” he said. “This is a concern about what could happen to any individual in Alaska.”

Eastman noted that an innocent person was forced to endure three days under mandatory observation.

“Not because they were mentally ill, but because someone had thought that they might be,” he said. “This person was forcefully medicated against their will – not because they were suffering from psychosis but because our system failed to recognize that they were not.”

Without mentioning her by name, Eastman added that Fulp’s treatment “deserves our attention, deserves our looking at how we as a state have failed this individual and have failed our community, and find a way to make sure, as legislators, that the policies that we craft will prevent anything like this from every happing in our state.”

A few minutes later Rep. McCabe rose to speak to his colleagues. He focused on last year’s passage of House Bill 172, which requires that people be taken to a mental health facility, rather than a prison for involuntary mental health examinations and treatment.

The bill stirred considerable debate in 2022 with critics saying it did little to protect innocent people from being unjustly detained against their will.

Rep. Kevin McCabe (R-Big Lake)

McCabe, who helped pass HB 172, claimed the bill helped to somewhat mitigate Fulp’s situation. He pointed out that prior to passing HB 172, there were already laws on the books for involuntary commitment. He said HB 172 made sure that when someone is ordered to undergo involuntary detention, they will at least be taken to a health facility rather than to jail.

“The lady did not go to jail,” he said. “She went to a special facility. Previous to our bill last year, she could have been taken to jail – mistakenly – as the representative from District 27 said, which would have been even worse for her.”

McCabe said HB 172 fixed some of the problems with Alaska involuntary detainment laws, but not all.

“Did we go far enough? Probably not, as the representative from Wasilla said,” McCabe continued. “We obviously need to fix more of it, but we took a baby step last year by fixing this.”

He then highlighted that HB 172 specifically stated that people cannot be detained for reason’s used in justifying Fulp’s situation.

“You cannot do what was done to this lady for political or religious reasons,” McCabe explained. “That’s specifically prohibited against the law in the bill we passed last year.”

He concluded by defending himself against those who, claim that HB 172 exacerbated the problem for Fulp.

“There is so much information out there – disinformation – out there that HB 172, and those of us who voted for it – I voted for it – had somehow created the issue for this lady, who’s a friend to most of us in the Valley. We know her.”

According to Alaska Statue, any adult can petition a judge to order a mandatory psychological evaluation of someone alleged to be mentally ill and a grave threat to themselves or others. This order can be done ex parte (without the persons participation). Additionally, a judge can direct that an officer take the person into custody and deliver them to the nearest “appropriate facility for emergency examination or treatment.”

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Mat-Su lawmakers say unjust and involuntary detainment of decorated principal exposes flaws

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 20 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


16 Comments

  • AK Pilot says:

    Was she free to leave? If not, she was in jail regardless of what you want to call it.

    • Friend of Humanity says:

      No, she was not free to leave since she was brought in by court order. If she had walked in on her own and asked for help, she could have left on her own (unless there was good cause to keep her – like trying to kill herself while in observation).

  • Friend of Humanity says:

    I see such a fine line here with this “mental healthcare” issue. Now, I wonder if letting Alaska Psychiatric Institute fall to shambles was purposeful? I can just imagine the lefties/globalists salivating in excitement to get those “patients” into the FEMA camps with the new mental health laws under the Biden regime. https://radiopatriot.net/2021/03/18/how-many-fema-camps/
    Anytime there is a lot of focus from the left on something, you know it is not going to be good for the people and they are focused on the mental health of our society. Thank you to Rep. David Eastman for addressing Mrs. Fulp’s incident. McCabe, as much as I want to go along with what you are pointing out, I can’t because I don’t want to give you the impression that I support HB 172, which is summarized: “Relating to crisis stabilization centers, crisis residential centers, and subacute mental health facilities; relating to evaluation facilities; relating to representation by an attorney; relating to the administration of psychotropic medication in a crisis situation; relating to the use of psychotropic medication; relating to licensed facilities; relating to psychiatric patient rights; amending Rule 6(a), Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date.” (https://www.akleg.gov/PDF/32/Bills/HB0172Z.PDF) I, personally, do not want any laws right now that could give the Biden regime a loop hole to lock us up.

  • Shelia says:

    Going through an involuntary procedure of any type can be very frightening. I hope this type of situation can be rectified for those in the future. Alaska should be a place of freedom for all.

  • Nicole says:

    In America, government was instituted to SECURE each individual’s God-endowed, self-evident right to liberty; to be secure in their persons and private property. Those guilty of violating this woman’s rights, through trespassing, kidnapping and forceable medical experimentation against her will, have become the very tyrants we need protection from. They are not above the Supreme Law of the land, which they have clearly violated. All involved should face criminal charges.

  • DaveMaxwell says:

    It is telling about the real motives of people like Shelly hughes and mcabe when they hit the floor and start their defensive posture so that they won’t be held accountable for pushing 172
    Same game government always does, NOT MY FAULT!!!!

  • Theresa says:

    I wonder why McCabe thinks going to jail would be worse than being committed to “a special facility”? Why is it better to be kept “under observation,” in a psyche hospital, unable to leave unless a doctor says so, than to be put in jail for a day or three?

  • Jake Libbey says:

    In fairness to Rep McCabe, he flatly acknowledges that the law didn’t go far enough in its protections. It was a step in the right direction. He also clearly said that the law was in-fact broken in this case. HB172 wasn’t followed because this was done for religious reasons. That’s like faulting the 2nd amendment which is meant to protect your rights when someone takes those rights away. They are BREAKING the law, not following it. You can no more fault the author of a law that has been broken for the breaking, than you can fault a voting machine when you never went to the polling place. It’s a logical fallacy.

    • Theresa says:

      At the very least, this unlawful incident has brought to our attention once again what an awful and disturbing law HB
      172 is.

      Honestly, what is there to prevent anyone from doing the same to another for religious reasons, without explicitly stating those reasons? Are we simply left to trust the judges reviewing the requests to make fair decisions? Do we truly believe that it’s healthy for a society to make it permissible for private citizens to have the power to request that their fellow citizens be hauled off against their will to a psych examination? Do we trust doctors and nurses who are willing to strap people down and administer psychotropic drugs against their will? These same doctors get to diagnose and treat their captives, possibly against their wills -are we really ok with these realities, or are we disgusted by them (if Nurse Ratchet and the Nazis come to mind here, it’s not without reason…) and do we believe that we have rights related to personal autonomy endowed by our Creator which should not be infringed?

      In fairness to the rest of us, I do not believe HB172 is defensible and I do believe it should be stricken from the books.

      I agree with the author of this piece from last year: https://alaskawatchman.com/2022/05/11/house-bill-could-be-weaponized-against-helathy-alaskans/

      Lastly, if HB172 “wasn’t followed in this case,” are we to presume that HB172 isn’t in part responsible for what happened to this woman? How and under what perceptions of the law did her family seek to craft a fake court order? Did they do so knowing what could follow? Did they think they could fake an instance which would fall under HB172 in order to potentially get their family member committed?

      The salient question is: Could this incident have happened at all without HB172 in place? Does it not appear that the bad actors and those at fault for not checking the authenticity of the court order where, in fact, operating under at leaset some notion of how HB172 is supposed to work?

  • Kathleen Lynn LaMantia says:

    Hopefully the laws that do not allow for slander and kidnapping will prove a financial windfall for Ms. Fulp for clearly her family members and the troopers need to answer to her legal team as may the school district. She can always donate her winnings to the church of her choice.

  • joesusitna says:

    Where’s the Due Process?

  • Kam says:

    McCabe is just trying the old CYA speech. Nope-him and Sarah Vance spewed hatred and called people all sorts of negative names when we voiced concerns over this. It’s unconstitutional -period. And -it
    Allows anyone who
    Might be angry at another-the opportunity to mess with their lives-Ms Fulp still isn’t back to work. I pray God grants her peace and serenity in this tumultuous sea of idiocy from the legislators via Dunleavy.

  • Jerry Gray says:

    Yup. she definitely needs mental help.

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