Pennsylvania courts inconsistently interpret the Pennsylvania Mental Health Procedures Act, which governs the issue of whether a doctor can recommend that an individual be involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of a hospital. The author submits that mental health review officers in urban centers tend to interpret the statute's "clear and present danger standard" much more narrowly than do officers in rural centers. The author proposes a consistent interpretation based on the plain language of the statute, such that the clear and present danger need not always be evidenced by threats of harm and acts in furtherance of those threats.
Steven B. Datlof,
The Law of Civil Commitment in Pennsylvania: Towards a Consistent Interpretation of the Mental Health Procedures Act,
Duq. L. Rev.
Available at: https://dsc.duq.edu/dlr/vol38/iss1/5