Posts tagged "G.P."

In the Matter of G.P. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-179-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11911   IN THE MATTER OF G.P.       Suffolk.     September 10, 2015. – November 5, 2015.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.     Practice, Civil, Civil commitment, Standard of proof, Hearsay, Appeal, Moot case.  Uniform Trial Court Rules for Civil Commitment Proceedings.  Moot Question.  Words, “Likelihood of serious harm,” “Very substantial risk.”       Civil action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county of Suffolk on June 1, 2015.   The case was reported by Lenk, J.     Ann Grant (Robert H. Weber with her) for the petitioner. Julia Kobick, Assistant Attorney General, for the respondent. Sandra J. Staub & Robert D. Fleischner, for Mental Health Legal Advisors & others, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     BOTSFORD, J.  We consider here questions concerning proceedings under G. L. c. 123, § 35 (§ 35), a statute that authorizes the involuntary civil commitment of a person, for care and treatment, where there is a likelihood of serious harm as a result of the person’s alcoholism or substance abuse, or both.  In May, 2015, a District Court judge ordered G.P., the petitioner, committed pursuant to § 35 to the Women’s Addiction Treatment Center (WATC), a facility operated by the Department of Public Health.  After an unsuccessful appeal of the commitment order to the Appellate Division of the District Court, G.P. filed a petition for relief in the county court pursuant to G. L. c. 211, § 3, to challenge and vacate the order.  A single justice reserved and reported the case. G.P. is no longer committed to the facility, rendering moot her challenge to the order of commitment.  See Acting Supt. of Bournewood Hosp. v. Baker, 431 Mass. 101, 103 (2000) (Baker).  Nevertheless, we decide the case because it raises important issues concerning the operation of § 35 as well as the Uniform Trial Court Rules for Civil Commitment Proceedings for Alcohol and Substance Abuse (uniform § 35 rules) scheduled to go into effect on February 1, 2016, and these issues are likely to evade review on account of the relatively short duration of a commitment under § 35.  See, e.g., Baker, supra; Superintendent of Worcester State Hosp. v. Hagberg, 374 Mass. 271, 274 (1978) (Hagberg).[1]  See also Guardianship of V.V., 470 Mass. 590, 591-592 (2015). Background.  On May 4, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - November 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm

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