Worcester State Hospital v. Hagberg

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Superintendent of Worcester State Hospital v. Laura Hagberg
Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts
374 Mass. 271; 372 N.E.2d 242; 1978 Mass.
December 7, 1977, Argued
January 20, 1978, Decided

Petition filed in the Central District Court of Worcester on September 19, 1975.
The case was heard by Gould, J.

DISPOSITION: Order of Appellate Division affirmed.

HEADNOTES: Rules of Appellate Procedure. Practice, Civil, Commitment of mentally ill person, Appeal. Mental Health. Moot Question. Words, “Clear and convincing.”

SYLLABUS: Rule 9 (c) of the Massachusetts Rules of Appellate Procedure does not require the assembly of a record within forty days after the filing of a notice of appeal but requires an appellant to “take any action necessary, or reasonably requested by the clerk” within forty days to make assembly possible. [273-274]

This court expressed its opinion on the propriety of a commitment order under G. L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8, although the term of the commitment had expired, where the issue was of public importance capable of repetition, yet evading review, and was fully argued in an adversary proceeding. [274]

In a proceeding to commit a defendant to a mental health facility under G. L. c. 123, §§ 7 and 8, the standard of proof is proof beyond a reasonable doubt rather than clear and convincing proof. [275-277]

COUNSEL: Stephen Schultz [***2] , Assistant Attorney General, for the plaintiff.
Darragh K. Kasakoff for the defendant.
Jan C. Costello, for Mental Patients Advocacy Project, amicus curiae, submitted a brief.

JUDGES: Hennessey, C.J., Quirico, Braucher, Wilkins, & Liacos, JJ.


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