13.1502 Commitment of mentally ill or deficient person—Notification procedure and emergency commitment procedure.

Cite as [A.S.C.A. § 13.1502]

The trial division of the High Court may, after a hearing, involuntarily commit a mentally ill or deficient person within its jurisdiction to designated places for the care and treatment of those persons in the Territory. That person may thereafter be restrained to the extent necessary and reasonable for his own safety and that of the public. The hearing shall be held within 4 court days from completion of the following notification procedures:

(a) The person or persons petitioning the Court shall complete a certificate of need for emergency commitment. This certificate shall state the reasons for the need for emergency commitment. The certificate shall be completed and a copy shall be given as quickly as reasonably possible to the following:

(1) the person to be committed;

(2) the physician involved for inclusion as a portion of the permanent medical record; and

(3) the clerk of the trial division of the High Court.

(b) No further action may be taken to confine the person without the completion of a certificate of medical need for commitment by a physician authorized to practice medicine within the Territory. This certificate shall state the medical indications for emergency commitment. After completion of the certificate of medical need for commitment by the physician, the person may be confined as an emergency for safekeeping and treatment. The Director shall designate the places for the care and treatment of any person so confined. A copy of this certificate shall be given as quickly as reasonably possible to the following:

(1) the person to be committed;

(2) the physician involved for inclusion as a portion of the permanent medical record; and

(3) the clerk of the trial division of the High Court.

(c) No person may be confined for longer than 72 hours as an emergency. Within 72 hours a second certificate of medical need for commitment shall be completed by a physician and a medical officer, one of whom shall be of Samoan heritage and who speaks the Samoan language, who shall have conducted an independent interview of the individual. In the event they do not concur in their recommendation of whether or not commitment is necessary, the opinion of a third qualified doctor shall be sought and the recommendation of the majority shall prevail. Upon completion of the second certificate of medical need for commitment by another physician, the person may be confined until the trial division of the High Court holds a commitment hearing not to be more than 4 court days from completion and receipt by the court of the second certificate of medical need. A copy of the second certificate of medical need for commitment shall be given as quickly as reasonably possible to the following:

(1) the person to be committed;

(2) the physician involved for inclusion as a portion of the permanent medical record; and

(3) the clerk of the trial division of the High Court.

(d) Failure to comply with any of the time limits established above shall be grounds for immediate unconditional release of the person so confined.

History: 1980, PL 16-73 § 2.