Montana Code Annotated 2023



Part 1. Treatment of the Seriously Mentally Ill

Extension Of Conditions Of Release -- Hearing

53-21-198. Extension of conditions of release -- hearing. (1) (a) Subject to the provisions of subsection (1)(b), conditions of release may be extended by the district court beyond the expiration date of the order committing the patient under 53-21-127 or 53-21-128, but in no case for longer than 2 years beyond that date, upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence that:

(i) continuation of the conditions of release is necessary to prevent the deterioration of the patient's mental disorder; and

(ii) the deterioration will predictably result in the necessity of further inpatient care for the patient. Predictability may be established by the patient's medical history.

(b) The 2-year limit beyond the expiration date of a commitment order under 53-21-127 does not apply to a patient who was diverted from the Montana state hospital or the Montana mental health nursing care center to a category D assisted living facility, subject to completion of the evaluation required under subsection (2).

(2) Not less than 2 calendar weeks prior to the end of the period of detention ordered under 53-21-127 or 53-21-128 or the period of extension ordered under subsection (5) of this section, the professional person responsible for the patient's case may petition the court for extension of the conditions of release. The petition must be accompanied by a written report and evaluation of the patient's mental and physical condition. The report must describe any tests and evaluation devices that have been employed in evaluating the patient, the course of treatment that has been undertaken for the patient, and the future course of treatment anticipated by the professional person.

(3) Upon the filing of the petition, the court shall give written notice of the filing of the petition to the patient, the patient's next of kin, if reasonably available, the friend of respondent appointed by the court, if any, and the patient's counsel. If any person notified requests a hearing prior to the end of the period of detention ordered under 53-21-127 or 53-21-128, the court shall immediately set a time and place for a hearing on a date not more than 10 days from the receipt of the request and notify the same people, including the professional person in charge of the patient. If a hearing is not requested, the court shall enter an order extending the conditions of release for a period not to exceed 6 months.

(4) Procedure on the petition for extension is the same in all respects as the procedure for hearing on a rehospitalization petition pursuant to 53-21-197. However, in an extension proceeding, the finding required is that set forth in subsection (1) of this section. The hearing must be held in the district court for the county in which the patient is residing. Court costs and witness fees, if any, must be paid by the county that paid the same costs in the initial commitment proceeding.

(5) If upon the hearing the court finds that the showing required by subsection (1) has not been made, the conditions of release may not be extended, except as provided in subsection (1)(b). If the court finds that the required showing has been made, the court may extend the conditions of release as recommended by the professional person. In its order, the court shall describe what alternatives for treatment of the patient are available, what alternatives were investigated, and why the investigated alternatives were not considered suitable. The court may not order continuation of an alternative that does not include a comprehensive, individualized plan of treatment for the patient, as required by 53-21-162. A court order for the continuation of an alternative must include a specific finding that a comprehensive, individualized plan of treatment exists.

(6) Further extensions may be obtained under the same procedure described in this section. However, the patient's custody may not be affected for more than 1 year without a renewal of the extension under the procedures set forth in this section, including a hearing and a statement of the findings required by subsection (5). Extensions under this subsection may not extend the 2-year extension limitation provided in subsection (1), subject to the exception in subsection (1)(b).

History: En. Sec. 5, Ch. 541, L. 1985; amd. Sec. 34, Ch. 490, L. 1997; amd. Sec. 8, Ch. 402, L. 2017.