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In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of S.H.

April 9, 2012

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF S.H.


On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Hudson County, Docket No. CM-223-11.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Submitted March 7, 2012

Before Judges Axelrad and Ostrer.

S.H. appeals from the July 12, 2011 order of the Law Division that denied his discharge from involuntary confinement at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (Greystone), and instead continued his status as a Conditional Extension Pending Placement (CEPP). We dismiss the appeal as moot.

I.

According to orders made a part of the appendix, after S.H. had been found incompetent to stand trial, criminal charges against him were dismissed and he was committed to the custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services pursuant to an order entered November 1, 2010.*fn1 A temporary order for involuntary commitment was entered March 9, 2011. On March 30, 2011, the court entered an order continuing his commitment until a hearing April 27, 2011, but provided that he could be transferred to a less restrictive environment. On May 31, 2011, the court approved S.H.'s CEPP status pursuant to Rule 4:74-7(h), with a placement review hearing scheduled for June 28, 2011. On June 28, 2011, CEPP was continued, with another hearing scheduled for July 12, 2011. The court ordered that S.H. be interviewed for a day program "forthwith," and also ordered notice to the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office.

At the hearing at Greystone on July 12, 2011, a hospital social worker testified the treatment team recommended S.H.'s discharge conditioned upon his admission to a suitable day treatment program. She reported that she had learned the previous day that a day program to which S.H. was referred was unable to accept him. Efforts were ongoing to gain S.H.'s admission to another program. Therefore, she recommended placing S.H. on CEPP status for two weeks, to assure S.H.'s admission to a day program. "We would like to get [S.H.] into a day program and, basically, get him discharged."

However, she also reported that the Special Status Patient Review Committee (SSPRC) had recently interviewed S.H., and concluded he was delusional and disagreed with the treatment team.*fn2 When asked to explain why the delusions were a barrier to his discharge, the social worker declined to defend the SSPRC's decision, stating, "I'm not the one that made the decision. I don't find it to be a barrier. He's doing good. His treatment team feels that he is ready for discharge. And we brought him to Special Status and they den[ied] him."

S.H.'s attorney argued S.H. was no longer in need of commitment and there was no evidence to support imposition of continued restraints. He urged that S.H. be discharged within forty-eight hours to his mother, a family therapist and mental health counselor, who testified that she was prepared to supervise her son to assure he received prescribed medication.

The Hudson County Adjuster argued CEPP status was appropriate, as S.H. was incapable of surviving on his own without a day program in place.

The court ordered continued CEPP status for two weeks to enable the team to seek "a group setting" for S.H. If such a program were not found, the judge stated he would reconsider whether S.H. should be "totally discharged in two weeks." S.H. was then discharged by order entered July 26, 2011.

S.H. appeals from the court's July 12, 2011 order, which continued him on CEPP status for an additional two weeks. ...


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