-The state’s highest court will hear arguments Nov. 1 about whether a Carver woman who strangled her 3-year-old son can block the public from attending a lower court hearing to determine if she can be released from a mental hospital.
An attorney for Helen Kirk, 39, wants the Supreme Judicial Court to reverse the decision of a Taunton District Court judge who ruled earlier this year that there was no reason to have a closed session.
Kirk has been held at Taunton State Hospital since a judge found her not guilty by reason of insanity following a highly publicized murder trial in 2007.
In 2005, Kirk was arrested for strangling her 3-year-old son, Justin, in his bed. She told police she thought he was the devil.
Although she was found competent to stand trial, doctors testified she was psychotic when she killed her son and was not responsible for her actions.
Prosecutors have filed a petition for a civil commitment to prevent her release.
Kirk’s attorney has argued that what she disclosed during individual psychotherapy sessions and conversations with other professionals involved in her care should not be held up to public scrutiny.
During a hearing in March, Plymouth County prosecutor Donna Riordan said a hearing behind closed doors would violate the First Amendment of the Constitution regarding the public’s right to know.
The Patriot Ledger is also seeking to have the hearing open so a reporter can attend.
Kirk has the support of the state Department of Mental Health.