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In re Civil Commitment of O.P.

July 9, 2007

IN THE MATTER OF CIVIL COMMITMENT OF O.P.


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County, MH-2011-2005.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued telephonically - May 25, 2007

Before Judges Stern, A. A. Rodríguez and Lyons.

In these consolidated appeals, O.P., presently an involuntary civil committee at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, appeals from: (1) the March 7, 2006 judgment, continuing his involuntary commitment; (2) the October 17, 2006 judgment, continuing said commitment; and (3) the January 9, 2007 order discharging him subject to the following conditions:

(1) twenty-four hour residential treatment program; day program, ICMS [Integrated Case Management Services] follow-up; MICA [Mentally Impaired Chemical Abuse] program;

(2) prior to actual discharge Hospital shall give notice and opportunity to be heard to prosecuting attorney;

(3) prior to actual discharge Hospital shall give notice to Megan's Law authorities; and

(4) discharge subject to SSPRC/CARP [Special Status Patient Review Committee/Clinical Assessment Review Panel].

The judge amended the January 9, 2007 order to clarify that O.P.'s status should be deemed "Continued Extension Pending Placement (CEPP)," rather than "Conditional Discharge." Insofar as the January 9, 2007 order is concerned, O.P. only challenges the fourth condition. We modify the January 9, 2007 order to vacate condition (4). As modified, the order is affirmed. The March 7, 2006 and October 17, 2006 orders are affirmed.

I.

In 1989, O.P. was charged with aggravated sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, criminal sexual conduct (two counts), criminal restraint, and unlawful possession of a weapon (screwdriver). The criminal prosecution ended with a finding of "not guilty by reason of insanity." Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2C:4- 8, O.P. was committed to the custody of the Commissioner of Human Services and confined to Marlboro Psychiatric Hospital. Subsequently, he was confined to Ancora Psychiatric Hospital. He was periodically re-evaluated pursuant to State v. Krol, 68 N.J. 236 (1975); State v. Fields, 77 N.J. 282 (1978).

On September 20, 2005, O.P. was discharged from Krol status. An application for a temporary order for involuntary commitment was presented to the Superior Court.

On September 28, 2005, Judge Millenky entered a temporary order for commitment pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.10. The judge found there to be probable cause pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.2b and R. 4:7-7(c), "to believe that the person is in need of involuntary commitment," in accordance with the standard set forth in N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.2m.*fn1 The order set a date of October 7, 2005 for an initial hearing. Thus, O.P.'s commitment was converted from one governed by the Criminal Code, N.J.S.A. 2C:4-8, to a civil commitment governed by N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.15 and R. 4:74-7.

Despite Judge Millenky's order, there was no initial hearing on October 7, 2005. A hearing was held by a different judge. The issues to be decided were whether there was clear and convincing evidence: that the patient is in need of continued involuntary commitment by reason of the fact that (1) the patient is mentally ill, (2) mental illness causes the patient to be dangerous to self or dangerous to others or property as defined in N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.2h and -.2i, (3) the patient is unwilling to be admitted to a facility for voluntary care, and (4) the patient needs care at a short-term care or ...


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