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In Re Munzer

MAY 15, 1975.

IN RE ELEANOR MUNZER. — (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

ELEANOR MUNZER, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH SCHNEIDER, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE MCGLOON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT: After a hearing on an emergency petition for hospitalization, the circuit court of Cook County entered an order finding the respondent, Eleanor Munzer, to be in need of mental treatment and ordered her hospitalized, in accordance with the provisions of the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 1-1 through 20-1.) About 2 weeks after entry of the order, respondent filed a motion for rehearing and a motion to arrest judgment. Both motions were denied. Respondent appeals from the order denying the motions, alleging that she was unlawfully deprived of her liberty and denied due process of law.

We affirm.

The facts pertinent to this appeal are as follows. On April 13, 1973, a petition for hospitalization asserting that Eleanor Munzer was in need of emergency hospitalization for mental treatment was filed with the circuit court of Cook County by the present wife of respondent's ex-husband. Based upon the petition, the court ordered respondent taken to the Chicago Read Mental Health Center and examined by a staff psychiatrist. At 7:30 that evening, respondent was examined by a mental health center psychiatrist and found by him to be in need of mental treatment and hospitalization. On April 16 and 17, respondent was again examined and found to be in need of mental treatment. On April 17, respondent was also served with notice of a hearing to be held the next day, and the public defender was appointed to represent her. The hearing was continued several times. On April 27 and 30, the hearing was held. At the conclusion of the full and complete hearing, the court found respondent to be in need of mental treatment and ordered her to be hospitalized at the Chicago Read Mental Health Center. On May 14, respondent filed a motion to arrest judgment and a motion for rehearing. Both motions were heard and denied on June 8. Two months later, respondent was given an absolute discharge from the Center.

Respondent's first contention on appeal is that since she had not been given a copy of the emergency petition within 12 hours after her admission to the mental health center, as provided by section 7-4 of the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 91 1/2, par. 7-4), she was unlawfully deprived of her liberty. This matter was originally presented to the court in respondent's motion to arrest judgment, which alleged:

"1. That Mrs. Munzer was not served with a copy of the complaint [sic] asserting that she was in need of mental treatment and because of this lack of procedure she requests that the finding be vacated;

* * *

3. That the court is without jurisdiction of the cause; * * *."

In presenting the motion to the court, respondent's counsel stated:

"Judge, we also have a motion in arrest of judgment, which is before the court. Since the court has denied my motion for a rehearing, based on additional testimony, which would be more of a factual question, I have a motion in arrest of judgment, which questions the legality of a commitment in that Mrs. Munzer will testify today to substantiate this judgment, she did not receive a copy of the complaint [sic] asserting that she was in need of mental treatment, and because of this lack of procedure, she is requesting the finding be vacated."

The motion was denied.

Section 7-4 of the Mental Health Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 91 1/2, par. 7-4) provides:

"Within 12 hours after the patient's admission under this Article, the superintendent shall cause to be given to the patient:

1. A copy of the petition filed relative to the patient;

2. A written statement in simple, clear and concise terms stating that the patient will be examined relative to the allegations of the petition and will appear before a court for a hearing within 5 days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, after the court receives notice of the patient's hospitalization. If the patient cannot read or understand the written statement, it must be explained to him in a ...


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