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COMMITMENT SHIRLEY CHAMBERS. APPEAL SHIRLEY CHAMBERS (02/15/80)

filed: February 15, 1980.

IN RE COMMITMENT OF SHIRLEY CHAMBERS. APPEAL OF SHIRLEY CHAMBERS


No. 2398 October Term, 1978, Appeal from Order in the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Civil Action - Law, No. 13 September Term, 1978.

COUNSEL

Charles B. Coleman, Reading, Assistant Public Defender, for appellant.

Brett A. Huckabee, Reading, for appellee.

Van der Voort, Hester and Wieand,*fn* JJ. Wieand, J., files a concurring and dissenting statement.

Author: Hester

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 329]

Presently before the court is the appeal of Shirley Chambers from the order dated August 28, 1978 for her involuntary treatment pursuant to Section 304 of the Mental Health Procedures Act.*fn1

For the reason that the "order" appealed from was issued by the Mental Health Review Officer and not by the lower court, we conclude that this matter is not presently ripe for appellate disposition and therefore remand to the lower court for action consistent with this opinion.

Initially, we note that Section 742 of the Judicial Code vests the Superior Court with exclusive appellate jurisdiction of all appeals from final orders of the courts of common pleas. (Emphasis added). 42 Pa.C.S.A. § 742, 1976, July 9, P.L. 586, No. 142, § 2 eff. June 27, 1978. This jurisdictional provision is substantially a reenactment of the jurisdictional provision provided in the Appellate Court Jurisdiction Act of 1970 ; Act of July 31, 1970 (No. 223), § 302, 17 P.S. § 211.302.

Appellant raises two issues: First, appellant claims that the issuance of a commitment order pursuant to Section 304 of the Mental Health Procedures Act (M.H.P.A.) by the County Mental Health Review Officer was improper; and second, the County Mental Health Review Officer erred in considering evidence at the 304 hearing which had been presented at the prior Section 303 hearing without same being reestablished.

Because we find that pursuant to the M.H.P.A., the County Mental Health Review Officer may not issue a Section 304 commitment order, we conclude that the instant appeal is not ripe for appellate disposition and therefore we need not address ourselves to the evidentiary second issue raised on appeal.

Section 109 of the M.H.P.A. provides for the introduction of an attorney into a County Mental Health System whose

[ 282 Pa. Super. Page 330]

    function is to serve as a "Mental Health Review Officer". Section ...


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