Code of the District of Columbia

§ 7–1304.11. Periodic review of commitment order.

(a)(1) Any decision of the Court ordering commitment of a person with an intellectual disability, other than a decision of the Court ordering commitment of a person found incompetent in a criminal case to DDS pursuant to § 7-1304.06a, that was issued before May 5, 2018, shall be reviewed in a Court hearing annually. The commitment shall be terminated unless there is a finding of the following:

(A) The Court determines that the person with an intellectual disability has benefited from the habilitation;

(B) DDS demonstrates that continued residential rehabilitation is necessary for the habilitation program;

(C) The person with an intellectual disability is a resident of the District;

(D) The Court determines beyond a reasonable doubt that:

(i) Based on a comprehensive evaluation of the person performed within one year before the hearing, the person has at least a moderate intellectual disability and requires habilitation; and

(ii) DDS is capable of providing the required habilitation; and

(E) The person with an intellectual disability, or an individual authorized pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection, provides informed consent to continue the person's commitment.

(2) If a person with an intellectual disability does not have capacity to give informed consent to continue the person's commitment, the following individuals, in the order of priority set forth below, shall be authorized to consent on behalf of the person with an intellectual disability to the continued commitment of the person with an intellectual disability pursuant to paragraph (1)(E) of this subsection:

(A) A court-appointed general guardian or limited guardian of the person with an intellectual disability whose scope of appointment includes the authority to consent to the continued commitment of the person;

(B) A court-appointed conservator whose scope of appointment incudes the authority to consent to the continued commitment of the person;

(C) The spouse or domestic partner of the person;

(D) An adult child of the person;

(E) A parent of the person;

(F) An adult sibling of the person;

(G) A religious superior of the person, if the person is a member of a religious order, or a diocesan priest;

(H) A close friend of the person;

(I) The nearest-living, adult relative of the person; or

(J) A guardian ad litem appointed by the Mental Health and Habilitation Branch of the Court for the sole purpose of consenting to the continued commitment of the person.

(3) A decision by an individual authorized pursuant to paragraph (2) of this subsection to consent to the continued commitment of a person pursuant to paragraph (1)(E) of this subsection shall be based on the expressed wishes of the person or, if the wishes of the person are unknown and cannot be ascertained, on a good faith belief as to the best interests of the person.

(4) If no individual in a prior category of individuals listed in paragraph (2) of this subsection is reasonably available, mentally capable, and willing to act, authority to consent to the continued commitment of a person shall rest with the next reasonably available, mentally capable, and willing individual on the priority list.

(5) Any individual listed in paragraph (2) of this subsection shall have legal standing to challenge in the Court any decision made by an individual of higher priority listed in paragraph (2) of this subsection.

(6) The order of priority established in paragraph (2) of this subsection creates a presumption that may be rebutted if an individual of lower priority is found to have better knowledge of the wishes of the person, or, if the wishes of the patient are unknown and cannot be ascertained, is better able to demonstrate a good-faith belief as to the interests of the person.

(7) Nothing in this section shall be construed to change DDS's responsibility to provide services and supports pursuant to § 7-761.05(1).

(8) For the purposes of this subsection, a prior court decision to commit a person shall not be determinative of whether the person has capacity to give informed consent to continue the person's commitment pursuant to paragraph (1)(E) of this subsection.

(a-1) Any decision of the Court ordering commitment of a person found incompetent in a criminal case to DDS pursuant to § 7-1304.06a shall be reviewed in a court hearing annually. The person shall not be discharged if the Court finds that the person is likely to cause injury to others as a result of his or her intellectual disability if allowed to regain his or her liberty.

(b) If a person with an intellectual disability is discharged in accordance with the provisions of subsection (a) or subsection (a-1) of this section but continues to evidence the need for habilitation and care, it shall be the responsibility of the Department on Disability Services to arrange for suitable services for the person.


(Mar. 3, 1979, D.C. Law 2-137, § 411, 25 DCR 5094; Sept. 26, 1995, D.C. Law 11-52, § 506(l), 42 DCR 3684; Apr. 9, 1997, D.C. Law 11-255, § 14(b), 44 DCR 1271; Oct. 17, 2002, D.C. Law 14-199, § 2(o), 49 DCR 7647; Mar. 14, 2007, D.C. Law 16-264, § 301(j), 54 DCR 818; Apr. 24, 2007, D.C. Law 16-305, § 26(n), 53 DCR 6198; Sept. 26, 2012, D.C. Law 19-169, § 17(aa), 59 DCR 5567; May 5, 2018, D.C. Law 22-93, § 201(c)(26), 65 DCR 2823.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 6-1951.

1973 Ed., § 6-1678.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 14-199, in subsec. (a), substituted “facility pursuant to § 7-1304.09” for “facility”; added subsec. (a-1); and in subsec. (b), substituted “subsection (a) or subsection (a-1) of this section” for “subsection (a)(1) of this section”.

D.C. Law 16-264, in subsecs. (a) and (b), substituted “Department on Disability Services” for “Department of Human Services”; and, in subsec. (a-1), substituted “DDS” for “MRDDA”.

D.C. Law 16-305, in subsec. (a), substituted “person with mental retardation” for “mentally retarded person”; and throughout the rest of the section, substituted “individual with mental retardation” for “mentally retarded individual”.

The 2012 amendment by D.C. Law 19-169 substituted “with an intellectual disability” for “with mental retardation” wherever it appears in the section; and substituted “intellectual disability” for “mental retardation” in the second sentence of (a-1).

Emergency Legislation

For temporary amendment of section, see § 505(l) of the Multiyear Budget Spending Reduction and Support Emergency Act of 1994 (D.C. Act 10-389, December 29, 1994, 42 DCR 197).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 4(d) of the Human Services Spending Reduction Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-35, April 11, 1995, 42 DCR 1834) and § 4(d) of the Human Services Spending Reduction Congressional Recess Emergency Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-104, July 21, 1995, 42 DCR 4014).

For temporary amendment of section, see § 402(b) of the Omnibus Budget Support Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-44, April 28, 1995, 42 DCR 2217) and § 506(l) of the Omnibus Budget Support Congressional Review Emergency Act of 1995 (D.C. Act 11-124, July 27, 1995, 42 DCR 4160).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(o) of Civil Commitment of Citizens with Mental Retardation Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-383, June 12, 2002, 49 DCR 5701).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2(o) of Civil Commitment of Citizens with Mental Retardation Legislative Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2002 (D.C. Act 14-454, July 23, 2002, 49 DCR 8096).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 301(j) of Developmental Disabilities Services Management Reform Emergency Amendment Act of 2006 (D.C. Act 16-672, December 28, 2006, 54 DCR 1155).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 505(l) of Multiyear Budget Spending Reduction and Support Temporary Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 10-253, March 23, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 1652).

For temporary (225 day) amendment of section, see § 4(d) of Human Services Spending Reduction Temporary Amendment Act of 1995 (D.C. Law 11-29, July 25, 1995, law notification 42 DCR 4002).

Editor's Notes

Section 35 of D.C. Law 19-169 provided that no provision of the act shall impair any right or obligation existing under law.