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TREVA STOVER. APPEAL TREVA STOVER (03/19/82)

filed: March 19, 1982.

IN THE INTEREST OF TREVA STOVER. APPEAL OF TREVA STOVER


No. 2060 PHILA., 1980, Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County at Civil Action No. 1976 - 2621.

COUNSEL

Dennis C. Pfannenschmidt, Assistant Public Defender, Bellefonte, for appellant.

Charles A. Schneider, Solictor, Bellefonte, for participating party.

Spaeth, Wieand and Johnson, JJ.

Author: Spaeth

[ 297 Pa. Super. Page 117]

This appeal is from an order recommitting appellant, a mentally retarded woman in her middle 50's, to Laurelton Center for a period not to exceed one year. The appeal was not submitted to us for disposition until after the one year period had expired. The evidence shows that appellant was

[ 297 Pa. Super. Page 118]

    properly subject to some form of commitment. It does not show that commitment to Laurelton Center was proper, but since the period of the commitment has expired, as to that we are unable to give any relief. Therefore, to the extent that appellant challenges her commitment, we affirm, but to the extent that she challenges her commitment to Laurelton, we find her appeal moot.

Appellant has been retarded since birth. In the early 1940s her family placed her in the Laurelton State School and Hospital. She remained there until 1962, when she went to live with the Stover family as a housekeeper. After Mr. Stover's wife died, he and appellant were married. They lived together, apparently without incident, until the middle 1970s.

In April 1975 appellant was referred to the Base Service Unit of Centre County by the Pennsylvania State Police, who suspected appellant of having had some part in setting two fires that had occurred in the area. The Base Service Unit determined that appellant did not need its assistance. About a year later appellant was arrested by the State Police on a charge of arson, but the charge was dropped when she was admitted to Hollidaysburg State Hospital. After a brief stay at Hollidaysburg, appellant went to live at the Group Skills Home in State College. While she was there Mr. Stover died. A series of small fires occurred at the Group Home. Appellant was suspected of setting them, and was ordered to undergo a 30 day psychiatric evaluation at Danville State Hospital in December 1976. After her release from Danville, appellant returned to the Group Home, but soon another suspicious fire occurred and she was asked to leave.

From February 1977 until June 1978 appellant lived in a mobile home in State College, and from June 1978 until January 1979 at the Bush House Hotel in Bellefonte. In January 1979, after another suspicious fire, she was involuntarily committed to the Laurelton Center for 90 days under the mental retardation provisions of the Mental Health and Mental Retardation Act of 1966, Act of Oct. 20, 1966, Special

[ 297 Pa. Super. Page 119]

Sess. No. 3, P.L. 96, as amended, 50 P.S. ยง 4101 et seq. After her release from Laurelton, she went to live at the Pine Ridge Manor in Philipsburg. She remained there until the end of October 1979, when she was asked to leave, again because of the occurrence of suspicious fires. On October 31, 1979, the lower court ordered appellant involuntarily committed to Laurelton for 90 days under the 1966 Act, and on February 1, 1980, ordered her ...


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