Having a hearing in front of a judicial officer vs a judge
During the first hearing for a 14 day hold the patient will first present their case in front of a judicial officer in what is known as a a cert review hearing. These hearings are not as formal as a writ of habeas corpus hearing which is heard in front of a judge. Many patients facing these hearings have no idea wha will happen or what they mean. As a patient it is important to know what will happen with the two hearings.
For the cert review hearing, you will present your case in front a judicial officer. The nurse, doctor, patient rights advocate will all be present. The hearing officer will place a recorder on the table to record the proceedings. The proceedings are considered informal but they are still documented and recorded. The hearing officer will make a note of the kind of proceedings will transpire and announce all of the parties present.. After all of the formalities are completed the doctor will be the first to present evidence. He or she may refer to the most recent hospitalization record, diagnosis, past history, and compliance. The nursing staff may propound additional evidence. that they have in notes. Then it is your turn to present what you believe to be your present condition. You can produce evidence that demonstrates medication compliance, evidence that shows you are not a danger to self/others or gravely disabled, and have a viable care plan. You can also cite evidence of taking care of your ADLs and proper care habits. All of these weigh toward making the officer see you as a capable patient who does not need to be involuntarily hospitalized.
Be aware that these kinds of hearings are hard to win since the burden of proof is quite low being clear and convincing evidence. Usually you will have to present good cause for release which includes that you are not a danger to self or others, will be compliant with treatment in the future, have shelter and provisions should you be discharged that day, and potentially the diagnosis is incorrect. The latter is quite hard to disprove as the court will favour the doctor over patient testimony since the doctor is considered an expert witness. At the end the hearing officer will make a decision and place it into writing. This hearing is quite informal so don't expect too much pomp and circumstance. It may take around 10-15 minutes. I have only seen one person win a writ of habeas corpus hearing. Should the officer find that there is reasonable cause for detention, you will be held for the rest of the 14 day hold.
For a writ of habeas corpus hearing there are more formal procedures set forth. To begin this will be the first time the patient will present their case in front of .an actual judge. The patient will receive paperwork with a hearing date. They will be assigned counsel to represent them unless they choose to represent themselves. On the day of their hearing it will be a bit similar to a cert review hearing. The judge will hear the doctor's testimony and then hear the patient's testimony through their counsel. Like the hearing officer the judge will enter a judgement be it continue the hold or grant the petition. Once the judge makes an order, it entered into the record and the patient will return to the hospital to continue their hold or be released. The mental health record shall be made confidential and sealed to the public. There is a minute order for the patient to view at a later date.
Be aware that these hearings are informal and very difficult to win. However, it is also important that patients know what they face. Too often patients are told they have an upcoming hearing and nothing more. The patient then faces a judge or officer without knowing what they are looking for and struggle to present a coherent case.
Juvenile Dependency and