Section 22-11A-31

Commitment petition - Rules to apply at hearings.

At all hearings conducted by the probate judge in relation to a petition to commit any person to the custody of the Alabama Department of Public Health or such other facility as the court may order, the following rules shall apply:

(1) The person sought to be committed shall be present unless, prior to the hearing, the attorney for such person has filed in writing a waiver of the presence of such person on the ground that the presence of such person would be dangerous to such person's health or that such person's conduct could reasonably be expected to prevent the hearing from being held in an orderly manner, and the probate judge has judicially found and determined from evidence presented in an adversary hearing that the person proposed to be committed is so mentally or physically ill as to be incapable of attending such proceedings. Upon such findings, an order shall be entered approving the waiver.

(2) The person sought to be committed shall have the right to compel the attendance of any witness who may be located anywhere in the State of Alabama and to offer evidence including the testimony of witnesses, to be confronted with the witnesses in support of the petition, to cross-examine and to testify in his own behalf, but no such person shall be compelled to testify against himself. The attorney representing the person sought to be committed shall be vested with all rights of said person during all of the hearings if such person is not present in court to exercise his rights.

(3) The probate judge shall cause the hearing to be transcribed or recorded stenographically, mechanically, or electronically and shall retain such transcription for a period of not less than three years from the date the petition is denied or granted and not less than the duration of any commitment pursuant to such hearing.

(4) All hearings shall be heard by the probate judge and shall be open to the public unless the person sought to be committed or his attorney requests in writing that the hearings be closed to the public.

(5) The rules of evidence applicable in other judicial proceedings in this state shall be followed in involuntary commitment proceedings.

(Acts 1987, No. 87-574, p. 904, §31; Acts 1990, No. 90-629, p. 1148, §5.)