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CIVIL COURT COMMITMENT WILLIAM GUZAN. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (09/10/79)

decided: September 10, 1979.

IN RE: CIVIL COURT COMMITMENT OF WILLIAM GUZAN. COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, APPELLANT


Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County in case of In Re: Civil Court Commitment of William Guzan, No. 1659 of 1975.

COUNSEL

Marlene W. Jackson, Assistant Attorney General, for appellant.

Max A. Levine, with him Arnold M. Epstein, for appellees.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Mencer, Blatt, DiSalle, Craig and MacPhail. Judges Wilkinson, Jr. and Rogers did not participate. Opinion by Judge Craig. Judge Mencer notes dissent.

Author: Craig

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 527]

The Department of Public Welfare (Department) appeals from the amended order of the Court of Common Pleas of Beaver County, entered December 14, 1977, directing the transfer of William Guzan (respondent) to the Western Center at Canonsburg, and ordering that he remain at Western Center until further order of the court.

After a hearing, the court found respondent to be mentally ill and mentally retarded, and initially directed that he be placed at Western Center for inpatient care under Section 406 of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, Act of October 20, 1966, Special Sess. No. 3, P.L. 96, 50 P.S. ยง 4406.*fn1

The amended order of December 14, 1977 was a result of a disagreement between the staff at Valley View Adolescent Psychiatric Center, where respondent was residing, and the staff at Western Center, as to the appropriate date for respondent's transfer. Western Center required that they receive respondent on December 21, 1977. Dr. Berkey, at Valley View, requested an early January admission date so that respondent would be able to spend the holidays with his family, because Western Center had a ninety-day no-visitation policy.

The department takes issue with that part of the amended order directing that respondent "remain at Western Center until further order of court." The

[ 45 Pa. Commw. Page 528]

    department argues that a court of law does not have the authority to abrogate the department's statutory authority to decide when a civilly committed patient should be transferred, nor, if care or treatment becomes unnecessary, when a patient should be discharged.

Initially, Section 406 of the Act gives the court of common pleas, of the county in which a person resides, jurisdiction to order commitment of a person who is ...


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