THOMAS J. SEPHAKIS Appellant
PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE BUREAU OF RECORDS AND IDENTIFICATION, MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF BEHAVIORAL HEALTH/DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, MCES, INC.
from the Order Entered May 25, 2018 In the Court of Common
Pleas of Montgomery County Civil Division at No(s):
BEFORE: OLSON, J., DUBOW, J., and STEVENS [*] , P.J.E.
J. Sephakis ("Appellant") seeks review of the Order
denying his Petition to expunge his mental health commitment
records and restore his right to possess firearms pursuant to
18 Pa.C.S. §§ 6111.1 and 6105(f)(1) and (j). After
careful review, we affirm.
trial court has provided a thorough recitation of the facts
underlying this case, which we need not repeat in detail.
See Trial Ct Op., dated Aug. 17, 2018. In sum, on
October 15, 2015, Appellant's business partner reported
to the Pottsgrove Township Police Department that Appellant
was suicidal. Officer Robert Greenwood transported Appellant
to a Montgomery County Mental Health Facility, and
Appellant's parents confirmed that Appellant had been
talking about killing himself for the past few days.
Appellant was involuntarily committed to the hospital
pursuant to Section 302 of the Mental Health Procedures Act
("MHPA"), 50 P.S. § 7302. On October 19,
2015, four days after the involuntary commitment, Appellant
received notice and an application submitted by the
Montgomery County Emergency Services, Inc.,
("County") seeking to extend Appellant's
involuntary commitment pursuant to Section 303 for an additional
20 days' inpatient treatment. A hearing was scheduled for
October 20, 2015.
scheduled hearing, Appellant, his privately-retained counsel,
and the solicitor for the county facility appeared before the
Mental Health Review Officer ("MHRO"). However, the
solicitor informed the MHRO that Officer Greenwood was unable
to appear that day and requested a continuance of two days.
Rather than continue the hearing for two days, Appellant and
his counsel negotiated a Stipulation whereby Appellant agreed
that he was in need of further treatment as alleged in the
Section 303 application and to an additional 20 days'
outpatient treatment in exchange for his immediate release
from the hospital.
MHRO set forth the Stipulation in a "Certification by
the Court for Extended Involuntary Emergency
Treatment-Section 303." The Certification indicated that
failure to comply with the Order would result in
Appellant's return to inpatient status. Appellant did not
seek review of the Section 303 Certification. He complied
with the Order and completed his outpatient treatment.
one year later, on January 12, 2017, Appellant filed a
Petition seeking the expungement of his Sections 302 and 303
mental health commitment records and the restoration of his
right to possess firearms pursuant to 18 Pa.C.S. §§
6105(f)(1), (j), and 6111.1(g)(2),  or permission to appeal
nunc pro tunc from his 302 and 303 commitments.
Appellant asserted that insufficient evidence supported the
Section 302 and 303 commitments and the commitments resulted
from a violation of his due process rights. On February 20,
2018, Appellant filed, with permission from the court, an
amended Petition asserting that he was proceeding pursuant to
the Mental Health Procedures Act generally and 18 Pa.C.S.
§ 6111.1. See N.T., 2/20/18, at 104.
court held a hearing on February 20, 2018, at which Appellant
testified, inter alia, that he and his attorney
negotiated the agreement at the scheduled Section 303
conference after Appellant agreed that he needed continuing
treatment, but did not want to stay in the hospital for even
two more days. He stated that he agreed to attend outpatient
therapy for 20 days so that he could be immediately
discharged from the hospital. See N.T., 2/20/18, at
121, 125-27. In response to extensive questioning by the
court, Appellant testified that he was aware of his rights,
including his right to appeal the Section 303 certification,
as well as the loss of his right to possess firearms.
Id. at 134-38. The court ordered the parties to
consideration of the parties' briefs, the court denied
the Petition on May 25, 2018.
appealed. Both he and the trial court complied with Pa.R.A.P.
1925. Appellant presents the following Statement of Questions
Involved in his brief:
1. Did the trial court commit an error of law by failing to
apply the holding in In re JMY, 179 A.3d 1140 ([Pa.
Super.] 2018)[(en banc)] (hereinafter JMY),
to this case?
2. Did the trial court commit an error of law when it found
that the Section 303 Hearing Stipulation was an "Agreed
Order" and therefore [Appellant] was precluded
altogether from appealing it even if timeliness was not an
3. Did the trial court commit an error of law when it ruled
that much of the evidence that was going to be presented was
irrelevant because the court had no intention of considering
[Appellant's] argument that JMY controls the
outcome of this case, or in allowing [Appellant] to develop
the case in his own manner? Appellant's Brief at 2-3.
standard of review is well-settled. We review the trial
court's denial of a motion for expunction for an abuse of
its discretion Commonwealth v. Smerconish, 112 ...