In re MH 2006-000749
In In re MH 2006-000749, 214 Ariz. 318, 321, P13, 152 P.3d 1201, 1204 (App. 2007), the question was whether a patient could waive her statutory right to be present at the involuntary commitment hearing. MH 2006-000749, 214 Ariz. at 319, P1, 152 P.3d at 1202. The patient, after telling the transportation officer that she had to go to court, refused to go with him ninety minutes later because she "did not know him." Id. at 320, P6, 152 P.3d at 1203.
The trial court found, after testimony from the transportation officer, that the patient had voluntarily waived her right to appear, and the hearing continued in her absence. Id. at P 8.
On appeal, the Court found that the "intended beneficiary of a statute generally may waive the statute's benefit." Id. at 322, P18, 152 P.3d at 1205. After noting that a "waiver is not effective unless it is given voluntarily and intentionally," id. at P 20, the Court remanded the case for a determination "by the court that the patient had knowingly and intelligently waived her right to be present." Id. at 324, 325, PP27, 30, 152 P.3d at 1207, 1208.
MH 2006-000749 clearly stated that the intended beneficiary of a statute may waive its benefit. Id. at 322, P18, 152 P.3d at 1205. Such benefit may include the right to counsel.