Boca attorney asks PBC judge to declare Trump incompetent

Claiming he is worried about the future of the country, a longtime Boca Raton guardianship attorney has filed a petition in Palm Beach County Circuit Court asking a judge to declare Donald Trump mentally incapable of seeking the presidency.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump

In the “petition to determine incapacity” filed last week, attorney James Herb claims the GOP presidential nominee exhibits signs of histrionic and narcissistic personality disorder – both recognized mental health ills listed in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” of the American Psychiatric Association.

Herb is asking judge to order an examination of Trump to determine if he is capable of holding any job. Herb isn’t asking Trump to be stripped of any rights that are often taken away from those who are deemed incapacitated, such as the right to vote, file lawsuits, drive or travel. Citing dozens of statements Trump has made over the last year, Herb claims the part-time Palm Beach resident has illustrated he is incompetent.

“This is for Mr. Trump’s benefit. He doesn’t have the mental capacity to seek this kind of employment” said Herb, insisting he is acting alone without any encouragement from Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, or any Democratic groups.

He said he is also acting to protect himself and others. “I’m scared sh–less for myself and everyone in Palm Beach County, the state, the United States and the world,” Herb said.

Florida law gives any “adult person” the right to question someone’s competency, said West Palm Beach guardianship attorney John Morrissey, who is not involved in Herb’s quest. A judge will appoint an attorney to represent Trump. The attorney will alert Trump that the petition has been filed against him.

Once Trump has been properly informed that his mental fitness is in question, a three-person examining committee – generally composed of a psychiatrist, a psychologist and a lay person – will meet with Trump to determine if Herb”s claims are justified. Trump, of course, can contest any claim that he is incompetent to hold a job much less become the leader of the free world.

However, Boca Raton guardianship attorney Edward Shipe said he doubted it would go that far. While acknowledging that case law isn’t clear-cut, he said the guardianship statute requires anyone filing such a petition to explain their relationship with the person they claim is incompetent – something Herb failed to do. He said that is a fatal flaw.

“It can’t just be, ‘I’m sitting here watching TV, I don’t like him and I’m going to have him declared incompetent. That doesn’t make sense,” he said.

If it was that easy, courts would be clogged with petitions, Shipe said. Trump supporters could file a similar petition against Clinton. Warring neighbors could use it for revenge.

While giving Herb an “A for a publicity stunt,” he predicted a judge will throw out the petition. Further, he said, Herb may regret going after Trump in such an unconventional manner.

Under the state’s guardianship laws, the target of a frivolous petition can demand that the person who filed it be forced to pay his attorneys fees and court costs. “I fear that Mr. Trump with his litigious history may make Mr. Herb’s life hell,” Shipe said.