Appeal Of Expired Commitment Order Not Moot

Kevin S. disputed an involuntary commitment order against him that placed him in the Chester Mental Health Center. The commitment order was entered in November 2006, and was good for 180 days. But the case was before the Fifth District Illinois Appellate Court well after the 180 days expired. So appellate jurisdiction the first question the court addressed. Was the case moot because the commitment order had expired, and the appellate court no longer could give Kevin S. the relief he requested? If so, the appellate court would be without jurisdiction to rule on Kevin’s appeal.

The court ruled that the case fell into an exception to the mootness doctrine, and stated that it did have jurisdiction. “Generally, a court will not consider moot questions or render advisory decisions … Questions raised in an appeal that are capable of repetition, yet might evade review because of the short duration of the order, fall under the exception of the mootness doctrine … Given that respondent [Kevin S] has a long history of civil commitment and that it is likely that the circumstances present here may reoccur without the opportunity for a resolution before the case is rendered moot by the expiration of the order, we will address respondent’s contentions.”

Read the whole case, In re Kevin S., No. 5-06-0677 (4/2/08), by clicking here.