The Vermont Statutes Online

Title 18: Health

Chapter 215: GUARDIANSHIP SERVICES FOR PEOPLE WITH DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES

18 V.S.A. § 9309. Hearing and appeal



§ 9309. Hearing and appeal

(a) The respondent, the state's attorney, and all other persons to whom notice has been given pursuant to section 9307 of this title may attend the hearing and testify. The court may in its discretion receive the testimony of any other person. The respondent and state's attorney may subpoena, present, and cross-examine witnesses, including those who prepared the comprehensive evaluation. The court may exclude any person not necessary for the conduct of the hearing. The state's attorney shall consult with the interested person who requested the filing of the petition regarding the facts of the case.

(b) The hearing shall be conducted in a manner consistent with orderly procedure and in a physical setting not likely to have a harmful effect on the mental or physical health of the respondent. In all proceedings, the court shall have taken and preserved an accurate record of the proceedings. The court shall not be bound by the evidence contained in the comprehensive evaluation, but shall make its determination upon the entire record. In all cases, the court shall make specific findings of fact, state separately its conclusions of law, and direct the entry of an appropriate judgment. The general public shall be excluded from hearings under this chapter, and only the parties, their counsel, the interested person who requested the filing of the petition, witnesses and other persons accompanying a party for his or her assistance, and such other persons as the court finds to have a proper interest in the case or in the work of the court may be admitted by the court. The proceedings of the hearing shall be confidential, and a record of the proceedings may not be released without the consent of the respondent or the respondent's guardian.

(c) The state's attorney shall appear and present evidence in support of the petition. The person who requested the filing of the petition may be represented by private counsel in any proceedings brought under this chapter.

(d) If, upon completion of the hearing and consideration of the record, the court finds that the respondent is not a person in need of guardianship, as defined in subdivision 9302(5) of this title, it shall dismiss the petition and seal the records of the proceedings.

(e) The court shall enter judgment specifying the powers of the commissioner pursuant to section 9310 of this title if, upon completion of the hearing and consideration of the record, the court finds that the petitioner has proved by clear and convincing evidence that the respondent is:

(1) a person with developmental disabilities;

(2) at least 18 years of age; and

(3) [Deleted.]

(4) in need of guardianship for his or her own welfare or the public welfare.

(f) The court may grant or restrict the powers of guardianship to the commissioner. An appointment of the commissioner to provide guardianship shall not constitute a judicial finding that the person is legally incompetent for all purposes, but shall only restrict the person's rights with respect to those powers expressly granted to the commissioner.

(g) Any party to the proceeding before the family division of the superior court may appeal the court's decision. The appeal shall be taken in such manner as the supreme court may by rule provide for appeals from the family division of the superior court. (Added 1977, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 2001, No. 43, § 1; 2009, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), § 238.)