Current as of: 2010
At all hearings, including probable cause hearings, conducted by the probate judge in relation to a petition to involuntarily commit a respondent, the following rules shall apply:
(1) The respondent shall be present unless, prior to the hearing, the attorney for the respondent has filed in writing a waiver of the presence of the respondent on the ground that the presence of the respondent would be dangerous to the respondent's physical or mental health or that the respondent's conduct could reasonably be expected to prevent the hearing from being held in an orderly manner, and the probate judge has judicially found and determined from evidence presented in an adversary hearing that the respondent is so mentally or physically ill as to be incapable of attending such proceedings. Upon such findings an order shall be entered approving the waiver.
(2) The respondent shall have the right to compel the attendance of any witness who may be located anywhere in the State of Alabama and to offer evidence including the testimony of witnesses, to be confronted with the witnesses in support of the petition, to cross-examine them and to testify in his own behalf, but the respondent shall not be compelled to testify against himself. The attorney representing the respondent shall be vested with all of the rights of said respondent during all of the hearings if the respondent is not present in court to exercise his rights.
(3) The probate judge shall cause the hearing to be transcribed or recorded stenographically, mechanically or electronically and shall retain such transcription for a period of not less than three years from the date the petition is denied or granted and not less than the duration of any commitment pursuant to such hearing.
(4) All hearings shall be heard by the probate judge without a jury and shall be open to the public unless the respondent or his attorney requests in writing that the hearings be closed to the public.
(5) The rules of evidence applicable in other judicial proceedings in this state shall be followed in involuntary commitment proceedings.Prev Next