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S.O. APPEAL S.O. R.T. APPEAL R.T. (05/10/85)

filed: May 10, 1985.

IN RE S.O. APPEAL OF S.O. IN RE R.T. APPEAL OF R.T.


Appeal from the Orders in the Court of Common Pleas of Common Pleas of Philadelphia County, Civil Division, Nos. 5731 August 1983 & 2789 September 1983.

COUNSEL

Bradley Bridge, Assistant Public Defender, Philadelphia, for appellants.

Martha Gale, Philadelphia, for appellee.

Cavanaugh, Beck and Tamilia, JJ.

Author: Tamilia

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 219]

These appeals are companion cases presenting identical challenges to Philadelphia's implementation of procedures

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 220]

    statutorily mandated for involuntary civil commitments under 50 Pa.C.S.A. ยง 7305 of the Mental Health Procedures Act (hereinafter, the Act). Both appellants allege that the procedural deficiencies of this system resulted in, inter alia, the denial of their right to due process. We agree.

The background of these cases may be summarized as follows. Both S.O. and R.T. were originally committed under section 302*fn1 of the Act in August and September,

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 221]

    respectively, of 1983. Both appellants, after section 303*fn2 hearings, agreed to remain hospitalized. No formal testimony

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 223]

    was taken at the hearings. In the case of S.O., no stipulation as to commitability was entered; R.T. conceded his dangerousness to self or others. No review was requested in either instance. At subsequent section 304*fn3

[ 342 Pa. Super. Page 226]

    hearings, testimony was taken as to the dangerous propensities of both appellants. S.O. was committed to a further stay not to exceed 30 days and R.T. to a further 60 days on in-patient status. Again, no review was requested of either commitment order.

The results of section 305*fn4 hearings, commitment of S.O. for a period not to exceed 90 ...


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