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Gary Coleman

July 15, 1990

I can empathize with Gary Coleman in his legal dispute with his parents. A mental competency hearing is always a demeaning intrusion into one's private life; it is even more agonizing when it is played out in the media. It is particularly heinous when it is proved that the charge was warrantlessly and maliciously brought before the court.

Unfortunately, it happens often. It is too easy for a relative who claims he or she is simply acting out of concern--when the truth is the person is acting out of greed, jealousy or hatred--to humiliate an individual by publicly questioning his mental competency. Thankfully, most of the judges who preside over competency hearings are not easily swayed by the numerous experts and "reputable" witnesses the accuser presents to add credence to his or her spurious case.

ADRIENNE AVERETTA

Long Beach

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