(a) Hearings shall be held at the 24-hour facility in which the minor is being treated, if it is located within the judge's district court district as defined in G.S. 7A-133, unless the judge determines that the court calendar will be disrupted by such scheduling. In cases where the hearing cannot be held in the 24-hour facility, the judge may schedule the hearing in another location, including the judge's chambers. The hearing may not be held in a regular courtroom, over objection of the minor's attorney, if in the discretion of the judge a more suitable place is available.
(b) The minor shall have the right to be present at the hearing unless the judge rules favorably on the motion of the attorney to waive the minor's appearance. However, the minor shall retain the right to appear before the judge to provide his own testimony and to respond to the judge's questions unless the judge makes a separate finding that the minor does not wish to appear upon motion of the attorney.
(c) Certified copies of reports and findings of physicians, psychologists and other responsible professionals as well as previous and current medical records are admissible in evidence, but the minor's right, through his attorney, to confront and cross-examine witnesses may not be denied.
(d) Hearings shall be closed to the public unless the attorney requests otherwise.
(e) A copy of all documents admitted into evidence and a transcript of the proceedings shall be furnished to the attorney, on request, by the clerk upon the direction of a district court judge. The copies shall be provided at State expense.
(f) For an admission to be authorized beyond the hearing, the minor must be (1) mentally ill or a substance abuser and (2) in need of further treatment at the 24-hour facility to which he has been admitted. Further treatment at the admitting facility should be undertaken only when lesser measures will be insufficient. It is not necessary that the judge make a finding of dangerousness in order to support a concurrence in the admission.
(g) The court shall make one of the following dispositions:
(1) If the court finds by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the requirements of subsection (f) have been met, the court shall concur with the voluntary admission and set the length of the authorized admission of the minor for a period not to exceed 90 days; or
(2) If the court determines that there exist reasonable grounds to believe that the requirements of subsection (f) have been met but that additional diagnosis and evaluation is needed before the court can concur in the admission, the court may make a one time authorization of up to an additional 15 days of stay, during which time further diagnosis and evaluation shall be conducted; or
(3) If the court determines that the conditions for concurrence or continued diagnosis and evaluation have not been met, the judge shall order that the minor be released.
(h) The decision of the District Court in all hearings and rehearings is final. Appeal may be had to the Court of Appeals by the State or by any party on the record as in civil cases. The minor may be retained and treated in accordance with this Part, pending the outcome of the appeal, unless otherwise ordered by the District Court or the Court of Appeals. (1987, c. 370; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 113.)