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Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders. Allyson K. Tysinger Office of the Attorney General May 2010. Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders Problems. Moot appeals Current law provides a 30 day time frame within which to file an appeal

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Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders

Allyson K. Tysinger

Office of the Attorney General

May 2010


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Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders Problems

  • Moot appeals

    • Current law provides a 30 day time frame within which to file an appeal

    • In 2008, the length of an initial commitment order was reduced from 180 days to 30 days

    • If an appeal is filed at the end of the 30 day appeal window, the underlying commitment order would likely expire before the appeal could be heard, rendering the appeal moot.


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Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders Problems

  • Appeals to be heard “de novo” but statute fails to specify whether the processes applicable at the district court level are applicable to appeals in the circuit court

    • Independent examination required?

    • Preadmission screening report required?


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Appeals of Involuntary Admission Orders Problems

  • Statute silent as to whether underlying order remains in effect pending appeal

  • Unclear as to whether a circuit court order for involuntary admission can impose a new period of involuntary admission or simply affirms the underlying order


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SB 63(Lucas)/HB 247(Kilgore)Time Frame

  • Appeals of involuntary admission orders must be filed within 10 days from the date of the order

    • This 10 day time frame is consistent with all other appeals from general district courts to circuit courts (See, e.g., Va. Code § 16.1-106)

    • Prevents an appeal from being moot due to expiration of the underlying order

      § 37.2-821(A)


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SB 63(Lucas)/HB 247(Kilgore)Status of underlying order

  • Specifies that the involuntary admission order being appealed remains in effect during the pendency of the appeal and shall not be suspended unless so ordered by a judge or special justice

    • Individual may still be released after filing an appeal in accordance with the statutes governing discharge (§§ 37.2-837, -838)

      § 37.2-821(A)


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SB 63(Lucas)/HB 247(Kilgore)Procedures

  • Appeal shall be heard de novo in accordance with

    • § 37.2-802 – Appointment of interpreters

    • § 37.2-804 – Fees and expenses

    • § 37.2-804.1- Use of electronic communication

    • § 37.2-804.2 – Disclosure of records

    • § 37.2-805 – Voluntary admission to state facilities

      § 37.2-821(B)


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SB 63(Lucas)/HB 247(Kilgore)Procedures (cont’d)

  • §§ 37.2-814 through 37.2-819

    • Circuit court judge will use the same process as is applicable in general district court

    • New preadmission screening report

    • New independent evaluation

      • Except that in its discretion, court may rely on the independent evaluation prepared for the commitment hearing in the general district court instead of requiring a new evaluation

    • Circuit court must find the criteria in 37.2-817 at the time the appeal is heard to enter an order of involuntary admission

      § 37.2-821(B)


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SB 63(Lucas)/HB 247(Kilgore)Length of Circuit Court Order

  • Any order of the circuit court shall not extend the period of involuntary admission or MOT set forth in the order appealed from

    § 37.2-821(B)