In the Matter of SC

In the Matter of SC, 2013 MT 140 (May 28, 2013) (5-0) (Morris, J.)

Issue: Whether the district court properly granted the state’s third request to extend SC’s involuntary treatment plan.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: Police brought SC to the ER in September 2011. A psychiatric nurse practitioner met with S and determined his mental condition had deteriorated. SC was transferred to Pathways Treatment Center. SC was diagnosed as bipolar, and suffering from depression.

The court held a hearing in October 2011. The Pathways psychiatrist testified, as did SC’s father, who said he was unwilling to allow SC home until SC’s mental state improved. The court ordered SC involuntarily committed to Montana State Hospital for 90 days.

SC’s release in December 2011 was conditioned on his taking his medication and attending treatment sessions. On Jan. 11, 2012, fice says after the commitment period had expired, the state petitioned to extend SC’s conditional release by 90 days. SC did not object, and the petition was granted. Eight days before that period expired, the state petitioned for a second extension. SC did not object, and the petition was granted through July 6, 2012.

Procedural Posture & Holding: On June 27, 2013, the state filed a third petition to extend. SC requested a hearing, at which he argued the state’s petition was untimely. The court granted the petition, and SC appeals. The Supreme Court reverses.

Reasoning: Section 53-21-198(2) requires a petition to extend be filed not less than two calendar weeks before the person’s detention or extension expires. The state concedes its petition was untimely, but argues that SC should be required to show he was prejudiced by the untimeliness. SC argues the district court lacked jurisdiction to file the first extension as the petition was filed after the commitment period expired. The state argues SC waived this defect, but the Court holds there was nothing for SC to waiver. The district court had no authority to extend the conditions of SC’s release once the 90-day initial commitment period ended.