Probate Court

Mental Health Proceedings - Court Proceedings

Hearings:

  • Must be within 7 days excluding Sundays and Court Holidays after the Court receives the Application/Petition and required certificates. A continuance may be granted  for good cause to either the petitioner or respondent.
  • An individual must be represented by an attorney.
  • An individual's right to be present at the hearing is considered waived by the individual's failure to attend the hearing if the individual received proper notice and had the opportunity to consult with their counsel.
  • An individual may demand a jury trial.
  • There must be testimony of at least one physician or psychologist who has personally examined the individual.
    • Should be the treating professional, if possible.
  • An individual may demand a medical examination by physician or psychologist at or before the first hearing.
  • The standard of proof is clear and convincing evidence.

Possible Problem Areas:

  • A patient may be removed if behavior makes it impossible to conduct a hearing. A statement must be placed on the record if a removal of patient is ordered.
  • A patient may be placed in restraints if the patient is reasonably likely to try to escape or inflict physical harm on self or others.
  • A patient may waive their right to an attorney – a waiver must be voluntarily and understandingly made and a guardian ad litem may be appointed.
  • If a patient does not speak English, there must be a translator present who is sworn in before the hearing.