This article explains procedures that take place after a person has been committed to a secured psychiatric facility by the order of the court.

Initial Hearing: Commitment Order

After the exam reports are submitted, the court must, within ten days of the receipt of the reports, conduct an initial hearing to determine the defendant’s mental condition. If the defendant’s in the custody of the commissioner in regards to an examination order, the court has to direct the sheriff to gain custody of the defendant from the commissioner and confine the defendant pending further order of the court, except that the court can direct the sheriff to confine the defendant in an institution near the place where the court sits if that institution has been designated by the commissioner as suitable for temporary and secure detention of mentally disabled people. At the initial hearing, the DA must establish to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant has a dangerous mental disorder or is considered to be mentally ill. If the court finds the defendant has a dangerous mental disorder, it has to issue a commitment order. If the court finds the defendant doesn’t have a dangerous mental disorder but is mentally ill, the provisions of subdivision seven of this section will apply.

Initial Hearing Civil Commitment and Order of Conditions

If, at the conclusion of the initial hearing conducted, the court finds the defendant’s mentally ill but doesn’t have a dangerous mental disorder, the provisions of articles nine or fifteen of the mental hygiene law will apply at that stage of the proceedings and at all later proceedings. Having found the defendant’s mentally ill, the court has to issue an order of conditions and an order that commits the defendant to the custody of the commissioner. The latter order will be deemed an order made in regards to the mental hygiene law and not related to this section, and further retention, conditional release or discharge of the defendant will be in accordance with the provisions of the mental hygiene law. If, at the conclusion of the initial hearing, the court finds the defendant doesn’t have a dangerous mental disorder and isn’t mentally ill, the court must discharge the defendant either unconditionally or subject to an order of conditions.
Also, whenever the court issues a special order of conditions, the commissioner will make reasonable efforts to notify the victim(s) or else the designated witness or witnesses that a special order of conditions containing these provisions has been issued, unless the victim or witness requested that such a notice shouldn’t be provided.

First Retention Order

When a defendant’s in the custody of the commissioner in relation to a commitment order, the commissioner must, at least thirty days before the expiration of the period prescribed in the order, apply to the court that issued the order, or to a superior court in the county where the secure facility’s located, for a first retention order, or else a release order. The commissioner must then give written notice of the application to the DA, the defendant, counsel for the defendant, and the mental hygiene legal service. On receipt of the application, the court can conduct a hearing to determine whether the defendant has a dangerous mental disorder, and it has to conduct a hearing if a demand is made by the DA, the defendant, counsel for the defendant, or the mental hygiene legal service within ten days from the date that notice of the application was given to them. If a hearing is held on an application for retention, the commissioner has to establish to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant has a dangerous mental disorder or is mentally ill.

While the letter of the law can at times seem complicated or confusing, it doesn’t always have to be. At Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC, the people always come first. Let our New York City criminal defense lawyers  help you, and make the first step by getting in touch with us today. It’ll be the best thing you do today.