In re E.C.

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The dismissal of the criminal charge pending against Respondent, an incompetent defendant, did not require his release from commitment to Bridgewater State Hospital, where the charge was dismissed after the period of commitment had expired, and a petition to extend the commitment had yet to be decided. After the criminal charge against Respondent was dismissed, Bridgewater moved to file an amended petition to modify its pending Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 16(c) petition to a petition for civil commitment pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 7 and 8. The district court concluded that Bridgewater had no authority to hold Respondent pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 16(c), denied Bridgewater’s petition to amend, and ordered Respondent discharged. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) the dismissal of the criminal charges did not require Respondent’s immediate release from commitment, and Bridgewater retained the statutory authority to hold Respondent while the Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 16(c) petition was pending; and (2) the district court abused its discretion in denying Bridgewater’s request to amend its pending petition for an extension under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 16(c) to a petition for civil commitment under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123, 7 and 8. View "In re E.C." on Justia Law