2004 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative Fillingane
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-21-65, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO DELETE THE AUTHORITY FOR COMMITMENT PROCEEDINGS TO BE FILED IN THE CHANCERY COURT OF THE COUNTY IN WHICH THE PERSON ALLEGED TO BE IN NEED OF TREATMENT IS FOUND; TO AUTHORIZE THE TRANSFER OF A PERSON FROM THE COUNTY WHERE SUCH PERSON IS FOUND TO THE COUNTY OF THE PERSON'S RESIDENCE; TO AMEND SECTION 41-21-73, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT WHEN THE COURT ORDERS THE COMMITMENT OF A PATIENT, TREATMENT PRIOR TO ADMISSION TO A STATE-OPERATED FACILITY SHALL BE LOCATED IN OR AS CLOSE AS POSSIBLE TO THE PATIENT'S COUNTY OF RESIDENCE AND THE COUNTY SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE COST; TO PROVIDE FOR CONFINEMENT OF NONRESIDENTS OF THE STATE; TO AUTHORIZE A COUNTY WHERE A PERSON IS FOUND TO CHARGE CONFINEMENT COSTS TO THE PERSON'S COUNTY OF RESIDENCE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-21-65, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-65. If any person shall be alleged to be in need of treatment, any relative of the person, or any interested person, may make affidavit of that fact and shall file the affidavit with the clerk of the chancery court of the county in which the person alleged to be in need of treatment resides * * *, posting with the clerk a reasonable sum for court costs in the premises if financially able. The chancellor is authorized to immediately transfer the cause of a person alleged to be in need of treatment from the county where the person was found to the person's county of residence. The affidavit shall be filed in duplicate. The affidavit shall set forth the name and address of the proposed patient's nearest relatives, if known, and the reasons for the affidavit. The affidavit must contain factual descriptions of the proposed patient's recent behavior, including a description of the behavior, where it occurred, and over what period of time it occurred. Each factual allegation must be supported by observations of witnesses named in the affidavit. Affidavits shall be stated in behavioral terms and shall not contain judgmental or conclusory statements.
SECTION 2. Section 41-21-73, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-21-73. (1) The hearing shall be conducted before the chancellor. Within a reasonable period of time before the hearing, notice of same shall be provided the respondent and his attorney, which shall include: (a) notice of the date, time and place of the hearing; (b) a clear statement of the purpose of the hearing; (c) the possible consequences or outcome of the hearing; (d) the facts that have been alleged in support of the need for commitment; (e) the names, addresses and telephone numbers of the examiner(s); and (f) other witnesses expected to testify.
(2) The respondent must be present at the hearing unless the chancellor determines that the respondent is unable to attend and makes that determination and the reasons therefor part of the record. At the time of the hearing the respondent shall not be so under the influence or suffering from the effects of drugs, medication or other treatment so as to be hampered in participating in the proceedings. The court, at the time of the hearing, shall be presented a record of all drugs, medication or other treatment that the respondent has received pending the hearing, unless the court determines that such a record would be impractical and documents the reasons for that determination.
(3) The respondent shall have the right to offer evidence, to be confronted with the witnesses against him and to cross-examine them and shall have the privilege against self-incrimination. The rules of evidence applicable in other judicial proceedings in this state shall be followed.
(4) If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the proposed patient is a mentally ill or mentally retarded person and, if after careful consideration of reasonable alternative dispositions, including, but not limited to, dismissal of the proceedings, the court finds that there is no suitable alternative to judicial commitment, the court shall commit the patient for treatment in the least restrictive treatment facility that can meet the patient's treatment needs. Treatment prior to admission to a state-operated facility shall be located as closely as possible to the patient's county of residence and the county of residence shall be responsible for that cost. Admissions to state-operated facilities shall be in compliance with the catchment areas established by the Department of Mental Health. A nonresident of the state may be committed for treatment or confinement in the county where such person was found.
Alternatives to commitment to inpatient care may include, but shall not be limited to: voluntary or court-ordered outpatient commitment for treatment with specific reference to a treatment regimen, day treatment in a hospital, night treatment in a hospital, placement in the custody of a friend or relative or the provision of home health services.
For persons committed as mentally ill or mentally retarded, the initial commitment shall not exceed three (3) months.
(5) No person shall be committed to a treatment facility whose primary problems are the physical disabilities associated with old age or birth defects of infancy.
(6) The court shall state the findings of fact and conclusions of law that constitute the basis for the order of commitment. The findings shall include a listing of less restrictive alternatives considered by the court and the reasons that each was found not suitable.
(7) A stenographic transcription shall be recorded by a stenographer or electronic recording device and retained by the court.
(8) Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, neither the Board of Mental Health or its members, nor the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, nor any employee of the Department of Mental Health or its related facilities, unless related to the respondent by blood or marriage, shall be assigned or adjudicated custody, guardianship, or conservatorship of the respondent.
(9) The county where a person in need of treatment is found is authorized to charge the county of such person's residence for the costs incurred while such person is confined in the county where such person was found.
SECTION 3. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.