Marie Elise West, diagnosed with bipolar disorder, struggled with hospitalization and control of her medication. Her husband and parents sought to oversee her manic episodes, during which she could become violent and irrational. California law under the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act stated that mentally ill people could not be held against their will unless they are presenting a danger to themselves or others or are severely disabled. West's husband knew she had the potential to cause harm during her manic episodes, but the authorities would not hold her before the trauma occurred. This story was written about West, her condition and the California law -- after West killed a man with her car. Not understanding her condition, authorities tried to charge her with a hate crime.
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