HOUSE BILL NO. 759
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 4, TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO CONFINEMENT AT THE DELAWARE STATE HOSPITAL.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend §403, Chapter 4, Part I, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by striking subsection (b) in its entirety, and substituting in lieu thereof the following:
"(b) Except as provided in (c) below, a person committed to the Delaware State Hospital in accordance with subsection (a) of this section (referred to herein as "the patient") shall be kept there until the Superior Court of the county wherein the case was tried is satisfied that the public safety will not be endangered by his release. The Superior Court shall without special motion reconsider the necessity of continued detention of a patient thus committed after he has been detained for 1 year. The Court shall thereafter reconsider his detention upon petition on his behalf or whenever advised by the State Hospital that the public safety will not be endangered by his release."
Section 2. Amend §403, Chapter 4, Part I, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection, designated as subsection (c), which new subsection shall read as follows'
"(c) (1) Upon petition by a patient confined pursuant to this section, §404 or §405 of this chapter, or upon petition by the Hospital Director of the Delaware State Hospital, the Court may permit participation by the patient in any treatment program which is offered by the hospital. Such participation shall include, but not be limited to' employment off hospital grounds; job interviews; family visits; and other activities inside and outside the Hospital, as may be prescribed by the Medical Director in the interest of rehabilitation.
(2) The petition shall include an affidavit from the Medical Director which states that the patient has not exhibited dangerous behaviour during the last year of confinement and that in the opinion of the Medical Director, the patient will benefit from such participation.
(3) The petition shall set forth any specific treatment program being sought; the specific goals and course of treatment involved; and a schedule for periodic Judicial re-evaluation of the patient's treatment status, all of which shall be subject to the court's approval and modification.
(4) Copies of the petition shall be served on the Attorney General, the Medical Director and the patient or his counsel or guardian.
(5) There shall be a judicial hearing on the petition, and any person or agency served with a copy of petition, or a representative of such person or agency, shall have the right to testify, present evidence and/or cross-examine witnesses. The patient shall have the right to be represented by counsel at any proceeding held in accordance with this section. The Court shall appoint counsel for the patient if the patient cannot afford to retain counsel.
(6) Upon conclusion of a hearing on a petition pursuant to this section, the Court may approve, modify or disapprove any request or matter within the petition. If the patient's participation in any treatment program is approved, such approval or participation shall be effective for not longer than six months from the date of the judge's signature on the petition or Order permitting such participation. Immediately prior to the conclusion of the six months' period, the Hospital Director shall report to the Court on the patient's status, and make recommendations. Any authorization by the Court for continued participation by the patient in any authorized treatment programs may be extended, modified or discontinued at the end of the effective period with or without further hearings, as the Court may determine."
Section 3. Amend §403, Chapter 4, Part I, Title 11 of the Delaware Code by adding thereto a new subsection, designated as subsection (d), which new subsection shall read as follows'
"(d) Any treatment program approved by the Court under this section may be terminated by the Medical Director of the Delaware State Hospital. When a treatment program is terminated earlier than its court-approved expiration date, the Medical Director shall immediately notify the Superior Court. The Superior Court shall, after giving appropriate notice, hear the matter and review the decision of the Medical Director. At such termination hearing the patient shall have such rights as are provided for other hearings under this section, including the right to counsel, the right to present evidence, and the right to cross-examine witnesses. Where the Medical Director's decision to terminate is based upon the patient's mental or psychological condition, the patient may be examined by an independent psychiatrist or other qualified expert; provided however, that the termination hearing shall not be held until such examination has been finally concluded."
Section 4. The provisions of this Act shall also apply to any person who was committed under the provisions of §403, §404, and §405 prior to or after the said effective date.
Approved July 21, 1982.