122C-286. Commitment; district court hearing.

(a) A hearing shall be held in district court within 10 days of the day the respondent is taken into custody. If a respondent temporarily detained under G.S. 122C-263(d)(2) is subject to a series of successive custody orders issued pursuant to G.S. 122C-263(d)(2), the hearing shall be held within 10 days after the day the respondent is taken into custody under the most recent custody order. Upon its own motion or upon motion of the responsible professional, the respondent, or the State, the court may grant a continuance of not more than five days.

(b) The respondent shall be present at the hearing unless the respondent, through counsel, submits a written waiver of personal appearance. A subpoena may be issued to compel the respondent's presence at a hearing. The petitioner and the responsible professional of the area facility or the proposed treating physician or a designee of the proposed treating physician may be present and may provide testimony.

(c) Certified copies of reports and findings of physicians, psychologists, and other commitment examiners and medical records of previous and current treatment are admissible in evidence, but the respondent's right to confront and cross-examine witnesses shall not be denied.

(d) The respondent may be represented by counsel of choice. If the respondent is indigent within the meaning of G.S. 7A-450, counsel shall be appointed to represent the respondent in accordance with rules adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense Services.

(e) Hearings may be held at a facility if it is located within the judge's district court district as defined in G.S. 7A-133 or in the judge's chambers. A hearing may not be held in a regular courtroom, over objection of the respondent, if in the discretion of a judge a more suitable place is available.

(f) The hearing shall be closed to the public unless the respondent requests otherwise. The hearing for a respondent being held at a 24-hour facility shall be held in a location and in the manner provided in G.S. 122C-268(g).

(g) A copy of all documents admitted into evidence and a transcript of the proceedings shall be furnished to the respondent on request by the clerk upon the direction of a district court judge. If the respondent is indigent, the copies shall be provided at State expense.

(h) To support a commitment order, the court shall find by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the respondent meets the criteria specified in G.S. 122C-283(d)(1). The court shall record the facts that support its findings and shall show on the order the area facility or physician who is responsible for the management and supervision of the respondent's treatment. (1985, c. 589, s. 2; c. 695, s. 8; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 863, ss. 29, 30; 1987 (Reg. Sess., 1988), c. 1037, s. 117; 2000-144, s. 43; 2018-33, s. 37.)