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JAMES DEYOUNG. APPEAL COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/26/89)

decided: October 26, 1989.

IN RE JAMES DEYOUNG. APPEAL OF COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, APPELLANT


Appeal from Common Pleas Court, Berks County; Honorable Calvin E. Smith, Judge.

COUNSEL

Howard Ulan, Asst. Counsel, for appellant.

Frank Robert Cori, Asst. County Sol., for appellee, Schuylkill County.

Alfred W. Crump, Jr., Asst. County Sol., for appellee, Berks County.

Craig and Doyle, JJ., and Narick, Senior Judge.

Author: Narick

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 266]

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Public Welfare (Commonwealth) appeals from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County determining that, because of an inability to determine the residence of James DeYoung, currently an inpatient at Norristown State Hospital (Norristown), as being a county within the Commonwealth, liability for Mr. DeYoung's treatment should be borne by the Commonwealth pursuant to Section 408 of the Mental Health Procedures Act (Act).*fn1

Mr. DeYoung apparently has a substantial history of mental illness and commitments to state mental hospitals. In 1985, he pled guilty in a Berks County court to involuntary manslaughter for an offense committed in Berks County in 1983. He was committed to involuntary treatment at Norristown, where he apparently remains. Pursuant to

[ 129 Pa. Commw. Page 267]

Section 408 of the Act, Schuylkill County was assessed the costs of Mr. DeYoung's treatment.

In 1987, a petition to determine legal residence was filed by Schuylkill County with the Court of Common Pleas of Berks County, asserting that Mr. DeYoung was domiciled in Berks County. A hearing was scheduled on the petition and both Schuylkill and Berks Counties appeared and were represented. The Commonwealth, which had notice of the proceeding, elected not to appear.

Schuylkill County presented the testimony of Jay R. Zeigler, a Schuylkill County detective, who testified that he was unable to discover a Schuylkill County address for Mr. DeYoung. The only information he was able to find indicated that Mr. DeYoung may have stayed at the Hotel Davis, a transient hotel in Pottsville, Schuylkill County. The hotel, however, maintained no records and he was unable to verify that information. Berks County presented no evidence.

The trial court decided that it could not determine Mr. DeYoung's residence and it entered an order assessing the costs of his treatment against the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth has appealed from that order, raising two issues for our review: 1) whether Section 408 of the Act provides for payment by the Commonwealth only in the case of a person whose residence is outside the Commonwealth and, 2) whether the ...


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