Attorney Committed To Psych Ward Can Still Represent Clients

Carolyn Barnes

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A Texas judge has said an attorney who’s locked up in a psychiatric facility can continue representing clients while she’s there, the Austin American-Statesman reported Friday.That lawyer, Carolyn Barnes, has been in an inpatient psychiatric facility since mid-2011, when a judge ruled she wasn’t competent to stand trial on charges that she fired a gun at a census worker.

During her time in the psychiatric facility, Barnes has continued practicing as an attorney. A state appeals court had questioned whether she was competent to do so, and it asked Judge Doug Arnold to weigh in.

“Ms. Barnes is, as of this moment, a licensed member of the bar,” Judge Doug Arnold said. “It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to unilaterally decide if she’s competent to act as an attorney.”

Earlier this month, the American-Statesman reported Barnes filed a lengthy appeal for a client accused of misdemeanour theft. At the Kerrville State Hospital, she has access to everything she needs to do her job, including the Internet and a fax machine.

After she was arrested for allegedly firing shots at the census worker, Barnes was accused of assaulting a police officer, the American-Statesman reported in 2010.

Williamson County Jail records show Barnes has been arrested eight times, including once for allegedly making a terrorist threat, Austin, Texas’ has reported.

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