Mental Health Court
Civil Commitment Proceedings
Mental Health Civil Commitment cases are overseen by the courts at Maricopa Integrated Health System’s Psychiatric Annex and Desert Vista campuses, at the Arizona State Hospital, and downtown court complex. These proceedings include hearings on Petitions for Court-Ordered Evaluation, Court-Ordered Treatment, Annual Reviews, and Judicial Reviews.
Additional proceedings at the Arizona State Hospital include Guilty Except for Insanity (GEI) hearings under the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board (PSRB).
If a mentally ill individual does not wish to seek treatment, or wishes to terminate treatment against medical advice, the individual may find oneself in court going through a process designed to provide treatment pursuant to a court order.
In most cases, this starts with a Petition for Court-Ordered Evaluation, which allows the individual to be evaluated for a period of 72 hours. The individual is advised of their rights, namely their right to counsel and right to a hearing. Before the end of this 72-hour time period, if deemed necessary, a Petition for Court-Ordered Treatment may be filed.
In order for an Order for Treatment to be entered, the Court must find that the person, as a result of a mental disorder, meets at least one of the following four criteria:
- is a danger to him/herself
- is a danger to others
- is persistently or acutely disabled
- is gravely disabled
If, at the hearing on the Petition for Court-Ordered Treatment, the Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the patient is suffering a mental disorder, and meets one or more of the four criteria, the Court will enter an Order for Treatment ordering that the individual be treated in a program of combined inpatient and outpatient treatment. The length of the Order for Treatment will not exceed one year, unless renewed in a subsequent proceeding.
If you or a loved one are facing a behavioral health crisis, call the Mercy Care Behavioral Health Crisis Line, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at (602) 222-9444 or (800) 631-1314 (toll free) or (800) 327-9254 (TTY/TDD).
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