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In re W.A.

Superior Court of Pennsylvania

April 30, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF: W.A. APPEAL OF: W.A

Appeal from the Order September 30, 2013. In the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, Civil Division at No(s): 2006-660. Before LUNSFORD, J.

David R. Crowley, Bellefonte, for appellant.

Daniel McGee, State College, for appellee.

BEFORE: PANELLA, OLSON, MUSMANNO, JJ.

OPINION

Page 703

PANELLA, J.

Appellant, W.A., appeals from the order entered on September 30, 2013, in the Court of Common Pleas of Centre County, which involuntarily committed him to inpatient mental health treatment pursuant to Section 304 of the Mental Health Procedures Act (" MHPA" ), 50 P.S. § 7101, et. seq. We consider whether the trial court's failure to render a decision within the timeframe provided in Section 304 of the MHPA mandates discharge of the involuntarily committed inpatient. We hold it does not and affirm.

In May 1998, W.A. pled guilty to arson, simple assault and terroristic threats. W.A. is serving a sentence of five to 23 years' imprisonment and was committed for a psychiatric evaluation under Section 302 of the MHPA on September 3, 2013. W.A. was evaluated at the Mental Health Unit at the State Correction Institution at Rockview (" Rockview" ) on September 4, 2013. Following a psychiatric evaluation, Rockview filed a petition under Section 303 of the MHPA seeking an extension of involuntary treatment of up to 20 days. On September 12, 2013, W.A. was involuntarily committed, pursuant to Section 303 of the MHPA, to Rockview for a period of 20 days because of threatening and assaultive behavior toward his psychiatrist and a corrections officer.

On September 23, 2013, Dr. Carol Eidsvoog, the treating psychiatrist at Rockview, filed a petition pursuant to Section 304 of the MHPA, seeking to extend W.A.'s period of involuntary treatment for an additional 90 days. At the time the filing of the Section 304 petition, W.A. was still receiving treatment pursuant to the Section 303 commitment ordered on September 12, 2013. Mental Health Review Officer Sonja F. Napier, Esquire, held a hearing on Rockview's application on September 25, 2013. At the conclusion of the hearing, Hearing Officer Napier filed a report recommending that W.A.'s involuntary commitment continue.

Page 704

On September 30, 2013, the trial court entered an order directing that W.A. be involuntarily committed at Rockview for up to 90 days. W.A. filed a petition for review of certification to involuntary inpatient mental health treatment, which the trial court denied. This appeal followed.

W.A. raises the following issue for our review:

WHETHER THE LOWER COURT WAS REQUIRED TO DISCHARGE PETITIONER FOLLOWING ITS FAILURE TO ABIDE BY ITS STATUTORY REQUIREMENT TO RENDER A DECISION WITHIN ...

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