2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 28:54 — Judicial commitment; procedure

§54.  Judicial commitment; procedure

A.  Any person of legal age may file with the court a petition which asserts his belief that a person is suffering from mental illness which contributes or causes that person to be a danger to himself or others or to be gravely disabled, or is suffering from substance abuse which contributes or causes that person to be a danger to himself or others or to be gravely disabled and may thereby request a hearing.  The petition may be filed in the judicial district in which the respondent is confined, or if not confined, in the judicial district where he resides or may be found.  The hearing shall not be transferred to another district except for good cause shown.  A petitioner who is unable to afford an attorney may seek the assistance of any legal aid society or similar agency if available.

B.  The petition shall contain the facts which are the basis of the assertion and provide the respondent with adequate notice and knowledge relative to the nature of the proceedings.

C.  Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall assign a time, not later than eighteen calendar days thereafter, shall assign a place for a hearing upon the petition, and shall cause reasonable notice thereof to be given to the respondent, respondent's attorney and the petitioner.  The notice shall inform such respondent that he has a right to be present at the hearing; that he has a right to counsel; that he, if indigent or otherwise qualified, has the right to have counsel appointed to represent him by the Mental Health Advocacy Service, and that he has the right to cross examine witnesses testifying at any hearing on such application.

D.(1)  As soon as practical after the filing of the petition, the court shall review the petition and supporting documents, and determine whether there exists probable cause to believe that the respondent is suffering from mental illness which contributes to his being or causes him to be a danger to himself or others or gravely disabled, or is suffering from substance abuse which contributes to his being or causes him to be a danger to himself or others or gravely disabled.  If the court determines that probable cause exists, the court shall appoint a physician, preferably a psychiatrist, to examine the respondent and make a written report to the court and the respondent's attorney on the form provided by the office of human services of the Department of Health and Hospitals.  The court-appointed physician may be the respondent's treating physician.  The written report shall be made available to counsel for the respondent at least three days before the hearing.  This report shall set forth specifically the objective factors leading to the conclusion that the person has a mental illness or suffers from substance abuse, the actions or statements by the person leading to the conclusion that the mental illness or substance abuse causes the person to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled and in need of immediate treatment as a result of such illness or abuse, and why involuntary confinement and treatment are indicated.  The following criteria should be considered by the physician:

(a)  The respondent is suffering from serious mental illness which contributes or causes him to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled or from substance abuse which contributes or causes him to be dangerous to himself or others or to be gravely disabled.

(b)  The respondent's condition is likely to deteriorate needlessly unless he is provided appropriate medical treatment.

(c)  The respondent's condition is likely to improve if he is provided appropriate medical treatment.

(2)  The respondent or his attorney shall have the right to seek an additional independent medical opinion, when necessary, in their discretion.  If the respondent is indigent, this opinion may be paid for by the Mental Health Advocacy Service, upon the approval of its executive director.  Reasonable compensation of the appointed examining physicians and all court costs shall be established by the court and ordered paid by respondent or petitioner in the discretion of the court.  If it is determined by the court that the costs shall not be borne by the respondent or the petitioner, then compensation to the physicians and all court costs shall be paid from funds appropriated to the judiciary, but such court costs shall not exceed the sum of seventy-five dollars.

(3)  If the respondent refuses to be examined by the court appointed physician as herein provided, or if the judge, after reviewing the petition and an affidavit filed pursuant to R.S. 28:53.2 or the report of the treating physician or the court appointed physician, finds that the respondent is mentally ill or suffering from substance abuse and is in need of immediate hospitalization to protect the person or others from physical harm, or that the respondent's condition may be markedly worsened by delay, then the court may issue a court order for custody of the respondent, and a peace officer shall deliver the respondent to a treatment facility designated by the court.  The court shall also issue an order to the treatment facility authorizing detention of the respondent until the commitment hearing is completed, unless he is discharged by the director.

(4)  Unless the individual is currently hospitalized or under an emergency certificate, he shall be allowed to remain in his home or other place of residence pending an ordered examination and to return to his home or other place of residence upon completion of the examination.  An examining physician may execute an emergency certificate pursuant to R.S. 28:53 if he deems that action appropriate.  In such a case, the respondent shall be admitted pursuant to R.S. 28:53 pending the hearing on the petition.

E.(1)  Public and private general hospitals and their personnel who provide services in good faith for commitments defined in this Part shall not be liable for damages suffered by the patient as a result of the commitment or damages caused by the patient during the term of the commitment, unless the damage or injury was caused by willful or wanton negligence or gross misconduct.  This limitation shall only apply to public and private general hospital personnel who within the preceding twelve-month period have received appropriate training in nonviolent crisis intervention and such training has been documented in their personnel files.  The training shall be provided by an instructor who has attended a course in crisis intervention taught by a certified instructor.

(2)  The provisions of this Subsection shall not affect the provisions of R.S. 40:2113.6 or the Federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, 42 USC 1395dd.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 154, §1; Acts 1977, No. 714, §1; Acts 1978, No. 782, §1, eff. July 17, 1978; Acts 1980, No. 682, §1; Acts 1982, No. 209, §1; Acts 1990, No. 204, §1; Acts 1993, No. 899, §1; Acts 2005, No. 480, §1.  

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