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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA v. CHRISTIAN HUBERT (07/02/81)

decided: July 2, 1981.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
v.
CHRISTIAN HUBERT, APPELLANT



No. 55 January Term, 1979, Appeal from the Order of the Superior Court, affirming an Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, Pennsylvania, dated September 25, 1978, at No. 418 October Term, 1978, Juvenile Special Docket No. 5, 39-08.

COUNSEL

Andrew F. Schneider, Stuart Wilder, Asst. Public Defenders, Doylestown, Bucks County, for appellant.

Dolores Robinson, Bucks County Mental Health, Andrea C. Jacobsen, Allen C. Warshaw, Deputy Attys. Gen., for appellee.

Flaherty, Justice. O'Brien, C. J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case. Larsen, J., dissents.

Author: Flaherty

[ 494 Pa. Page 149]

OPINION OF THE COURT

On December 2, 1977, in the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County, the appellant, Christian Hubert, was ordered

[ 494 Pa. Page 150]

    to be committed to a state mental institution for a period not to exceed thirty days. A temporary stay order was granted by the Superior Court, and, upon appeal to that court, the commitment order was affirmed.*fn1 A petition for allowance of appeal to this Court was then granted. In the instant appeal, no appearance was entered, and no brief was submitted, on behalf of the Commonwealth.*fn2

Appellant contends that the evidence adduced at the commitment proceeding was insufficient to warrant commitment under the Mental Health Procedures Act.*fn3 At the time of the commitment hearing, appellant was a sixteen year old juvenile delinquent being held in custody at a juvenile detention center. Commitment proceedings were commenced following an incident in which appellant threatened a child care worker at the detention center.

At the hearing, a child care worker testified that the incident in question occurred when appellant requested that a window be closed in his room. One worker entered the room and proceeded to unlock a metal screen covering the window while another worker waited in the doorway. Appellant, while standing approximately five feet from the worker who was closing the window, picked up a three foot long exercise bar made of steel, rubber, and plastic. He held it over his shoulder as though it were a baseball bat and said, "Now I will take the keys." The threatened worker then immediately approached the appellant, whereupon the latter dropped the exercise bar to the floor in a corner of the room and attempted to block the worker from taking possession of it. The exercise bar was, nevertheless, removed from

[ 494 Pa. Page 151]

    the room; thereupon, appellant, finding himself locked into his room, said that ...


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