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In Re Langdon

OPINION FILED OCTOBER 24, 1977.

IN RE WILLIAM EVERETT LANGDON, PETITIONER. — (THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES, APPELLANT; THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, APPELLEE.)


APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Rock Island County; the Hon. FREDERICK P. PATTON, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE ALLOY DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (hereinafter called "Department") appeals from an order of the Circuit Court of Rock Island County directed to the Department ordering it not to release, transfer or discharge William Everett Langdon, petitioner in this cause.

Petitioner William Everett Langdon was hospitalized in custody of the Department pursuant to section 5-2-4 of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4) and petitioned the Circuit Court of Rock Island County for discharge from hospitalization under the terms of section 10-1 of the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-1). The order to which we have referred was entered on February 18, 1977, and ordered the Department not to release, transfer or discharge the petitioner until certain showings were made to the court, and the cause was continued generally. On March 7, 1977, the Department moved to vacate, alter or amend the order of February 18, 1977, and the motion of the Department was denied. Petitioner Langdon has not participated in this appeal by the Department.

On this appeal, the Department argues (1) that the circuit court lacked statutory authority to retain jurisdiction over this cause, (2) that the circuit court lacked the statutory authority to designate the facility of petitioner's treatment, (3) that the circuit court lacked statutory authority to restrict the release, transfer and discharge of petitioner, and (4) that entry of the circuit court's orders places the Department's treatment staff in jeopardy of liability for deprivation of petitioner's civil rights.

On August 18, 1976, petitioner William Everett Langdon, at a bench trial in the Circuit Court of Peoria County, was acquitted by reason of insanity on two charges of murder and two charges of attempt (murder). Pursuant to section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b)), the Circuit Court of Peoria County found Langdon to be a person in need of mental treatment and entered an order hospitalizing petitioner in the custody of the Department. On September 3, 1976, petitioner was evaluated at the Department's Chester facility, and on January 11, 1977, the Department transferred the petitioner to the East Moline State Hospital.

On January 25, 1977, while Langdon was a patient at the East Moline facility, Langdon filed in the Circuit Court of Rock Island County a petition for discharge in the instant case, pursuant to section 10-1 of the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-1). The circuit court held a hearing on the petition for discharge on February 18, 1977. Testimony of Department personnel who had examined petitioner indicated that, due to medication and the controlled environment of a hospital, petitioner's symptoms were in temporary remission. The report of a commission examination of petitioner on January 28, 1977, which report was submitted at the hearing, stated that:

"* * * the proposed treatment plan for this patient is that he will spend two months at this facility [East Moline State Hospital] during which we will evaluate his behavior and observe his mental condition, * * * at which time he will be transferred to the Zeller Mental Health Center for further discharge planning."

At the close of the hearing, the circuit court entered an order on February 18, 1977, which provided in part:

"That said patient [petitioner] shall not be released, transferred or discharged by the Department from maximum security of East Moline State Hospital until changed circumstances in the condition of said patient shall reasonably show to this Court that there exists (a) a minimal risk of danger or harm to members of the public from said patient's transfer, release or discharge, and (b) that the patient's mental health is improved and not merely in a state of temporary symptomatic remission, for which purpose this cause is continued generally."

On March 7, 1977 the Department filed with the circuit court a motion to vacate, alter or amend the order of February 18, 1977. After a hearing, the circuit court denied the Department's motion on March 29, 1977. The Department now appeals from the circuit court's orders of February 18 and March 29, 1977.

• 1 The Department first argues that the circuit court lacked statutory authority to retain jurisdiction over the cause. The petition for discharge in the instant case was filed pursuant to section 10-1 of the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-1), which provides:

"Any person who has been * * * hospitalized in a hospital as in need of mental treatment * * * may file at any time in the court of the county in which such person is hospitalized * * * a petition setting forth * * * a request for discharge from * * * hospitalization and * * * and the reasons for such request."

Section 10-3 of the Mental Health Code of 1967, which governs the hearing held on a petition for discharge, provides in part:

"* * *. If it is found that the patient * * * is not in need of mental treatment * * *, the court shall enter an order so finding ...


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