No. 827 October Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, Civil, No. 328 March Term, 1979
Charles B. Coleman, Assistant Public Defender, Reading, for appellant.
Brett A. Huckabee, Reading, for Mental Health Review Officer, Participating Party.
Price, Watkins and Hoffman, JJ.
[ 279 Pa. Super. Page 619]
Appellant contends that the lower court erred in ordering her involuntary commitment pursuant to section 304 of the
[ 279 Pa. Super. Page 620]
Mental Health Procedures Act (MHPA).*fn1 We agree and, accordingly, reverse the order of the court below.
On March 29, 1979, appellant was involuntarily committed for emergency treatment at the Wernersville State Hospital pursuant to section 302 of the MHPA. A petition was then filed seeking appellant's extended involuntary commitment pursuant to section 304 of the MHPA. On April 2, 1979, a mental health review officer held an informal hearing on the petition. Appellant was present at the hearing, represented by counsel. At the close of the hearing, the mental health review officer "ordered" appellant's involuntary commitment for a period not to exceed 90 days. Appellant then petitioned the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County for review of the commitment recommendation. On April 6, 1979, the lower court denied appellant's petition and confirmed the review officer's recommendation. Appellant then took this appeal.
Section 102 of the MHPA, entitled "Statement of policy," provides that "[t]reatment on a voluntary basis shall be preferred to involuntary treatment; and in every case, the least restrictions consistent with adequate treatment shall be employed." 50 P.S. § 7102. Under section 302 of the MHPA, severely mentally disabled persons may be submitted to involuntary emergency examination at a treatment facility. Id. § 7302. The duration of such emergency examination is limited by subsection 302(d) which provides:
A person who is in treatment pursuant to this section shall be discharged whenever it is determined that he is no longer in need of treatment and in any event within 120 hours, unless within such period:
(1) he is admitted to voluntary treatment pursuant to section 202 of this act; or
(2) a certificate for extended involuntary emergency treatment is filed pursuant to ...