2006 Louisiana Laws - RS 28:56 — Judicial commitment; review; appeals

§56.  Judicial commitment; review; appeals

A.(1)(a)  Except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, all judicial commitments except those for alcoholism shall be for a period not to exceed one hundred eighty days.  The period of commitment shall expire at the end of the judicial commitment period, and the patient, if not converted to a voluntary status, shall be discharged unless a petition for judicial commitment has been filed prior to the expiration of the commitment period.  If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient is dangerous to self or others or is gravely disabled as a result of mental illness, it shall render a judgment for his commitment for an additional  period.  Except as provided in Subparagraph (b) of this Paragraph, each additional judicial commitment shall expire at the end of one hundred eighty days.

(b)  If a person has been judicially committed for four consecutive one- hundred-eighty-day periods pursuant to the provisions of Subparagraph (a) of this Paragraph and during this time has not been conditionally discharged, the period of a subsequent judicial commitment may exceed one hundred eighty days but shall not exceed one year.

(2)(a)  The hearing on the petition shall be conducted according to the procedures and standards set forth in R.S. 28:54 and 55, and this Section.  The hearing may be held by the district court for the judicial district in which the patient is being confined, or if not confined, by the district court for the judicial district where he resides or may be found.  The hearing shall not be transferred to another district except for good cause shown.

(b)  All judicial commitments shall be reviewed by the court issuing the order for commitment every ninety days, except those for alcoholism and except those individuals committed pursuant to Code of Criminal Procedure Article 648(B) whose cases shall continue to be reviewed annually.  The director of the treatment facility to which the person has been judicially committed shall issue reports to the court and to counsel of record at these intervals setting forth the patient's response to treatment, his current condition, and the reasons why continued involuntary treatment is necessary to improve the patient's condition or to prevent it from deteriorating.  These reports shall be treated by the court as confidential and shall not be available for public examination, nor shall they be subject to discovery in any proceedings other than those initiated pursuant to this Title.

(3)  The court may at any time, upon application or upon its own motion, order a new hearing to be held in order to determine whether the involuntary status should be continued.

B.  A commitment for alcoholism shall expire after forty-five days and the patient, if not converted to a voluntary status, shall be discharged, unless the court, upon application by the director of the treatment facility, finds that continued involuntary treatment is necessary and orders the patient recommitted for a period not to exceed sixty days; however, not more than two such sixty-day recommitments may be ordered in connection with the same continuous confinement.

C.  Notwithstanding an order of judicial commitment, the director of the treatment facility to which the individual is committed is encouraged to explore treatment measures that are medically appropriate and less restrictive.  The director may at any time convert an involuntary commitment to a voluntary one should he deem that action medically appropriate.  He shall inform the court of any action in that regard.  The director may discharge any patient if in his opinion discharge is appropriate.  The director shall not be legally responsible to any person for the subsequent acts or behavior of a patient discharged in good faith.

D.  A person who is judicially committed shall be allowed to appeal devolutively from the order to the court of appeal.  If the lower court finds the individual indigent, it shall allow the appeal to be taken in forma pauperis.  Upon perfection of an appeal, it shall be heard in a summary manner, taking preference over all other cases except similar matters.

E.  Upon affirmation of the order of commitment, the individual may apply for appropriate writs from the supreme court which shall be heard in a summary manner.

F.  Nothing in this Title shall deny the right of habeas corpus, including an application based upon a change of circumstances.

G.(1)  A person who is judicially committed may be conditionally discharged for a period of up to one hundred twenty days by the director or by the court.  The patient may be required to report for outpatient treatment as a condition of his release.  The terms and conditions of the conditional discharge shall be specifically set forth in writing and signed by the patient.  A copy of the conditional discharge shall be given to the patient and explained to him before he is discharged.

(2)  If the patient is conditionally discharged by the director, a copy of the conditional discharge shall be sent to the court which judicially committed him.  If the patient is conditionally discharged by the court, a copy of the conditional discharge shall be sent to the facility to which the patient has been committed.

(3)  If a patient does not comply with the terms and conditions of his conditional discharge, he is subject to any of the procedures for involuntary treatment, including but not limited to the issuance of an order for custody and the execution of an emergency certificate.  A conditionally discharged patient who is confined pursuant to any of these involuntary procedures shall have all rights of an involuntary patient, including the right to demand a probable cause hearing, the right to periodic reports and review, and a hearing pursuant to Subsections A and B.

(4)  An extension of a conditional discharge may be granted upon application by the director of the treatment facility to the court and notification to respondent's counsel of record.  The court may grant the extension of the conditional discharge for a period of up to one hundred twenty days.  No further extension may be made without a contradictory hearing.  The burden of proof is on the director of the treatment facility to show why continued treatment is necessary.

H.  All patients presently unrepresented by privately retained counsel and who are the subject of involuntary commitment under any prior statute shall have their cases reviewed by attorneys provided by the mental health advocacy service within one year from the effective date of this Section, or be discharged or be committed again according to the provisions of this Chapter.

I.  All judicial commitments involving a patient who has been found not guilty by reason of insanity or who has been found to lack the capacity to proceed, shall be reviewed in the manner as set forth in R.S. 15:211.

Amended by Acts 1972, No. 154, §1; Acts 1977, No. 714, §1; Acts 1978, No. 782, §1, eff. July 17, 1978; Acts 1979, No. 560, §1, eff. July 18, 1979; Acts 1979, No. 767, §1; Acts 1983, No. 516, §1; Acts 1984, No. 143, §1; Acts 1987, No. 928, §2, eff. July 20, 1987; Acts 1997, No. 985, §1.

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