10 YEARS AGO: Laura’s Law may be funded later this year | TheUnion.com

10 YEARS AGO: Laura’s Law may be funded later this year

Dave Moller
Staff Writer

Editor's note: This story was originally published on Jan. 11, 2006 by The Union.

Amanda and Nick Wilcox are among those who believe their daughter's killer should have been taken into custody well before any bullets flew at the HEW Building or Lyon's Restaurant on Jan. 10, 2001.

Scott Alan Thorpe was not taking his prescribed psychiatric medicine, something that his mother said seemed to keep him doing well when he took it.

Considering their daughter's killer was also believed to have many firearms in his home and was alleged to have stalked a mental health worker, any knowledge that he wasn't taking his medication should have been enough to bring him in for an evaluation.

Or at least that's what the Wilcoxes hope will now be the case in the future, especially here in western Nevada County.

Laura's Law was named after Jan. 10, 2001, shooting victim Laura Wilcox, one of three shot to death by Thorpe, and was strongly backed by her parents and State Assemblywoman Helen Thompson of Davis.

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The 2002 law allows counties to treat mental patients who can be proven to be threats to themselves or others or who are refusing treatment after being diagnosed as mentally ill.

Laura's Law did not include the funding counties needed for involuntary hospitalizations, however. It has only been put to use in Los Angeles County for mental health patients in jail there and is now the subject of a protest lawsuit.

Language in the bill has also been considered vague and contradictory by some, raising questions as to whether the Prop. 63 Mental Health Services Act will be able to direct funding for involuntary treatments.

However, here in Nevada County, as part of the lawsuit settled by the county with the Wilcox family, there was an agreement to embrace Laura's Law when Prop. 63 funds become available, possibly later this year.

"We are making a hard effort to do that," said county CEO Rick Haffey. "We will act in good faith."

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