Texas Attorney General Opinion: WW-1454 Page: 2 of 3
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Mr. Joe Resweber, page 2 (WW-1454)
authorized commitment "for such time as the court shall direct,
not exceeding one month." At page 528, the Arkansas Supreme
Court upheld the trial court's 15 day commitment on the ground
that the words "not exceeding" were words of limitation and
merely set a time beyond which the trial court could not go.
It is presumed that every word, sentence or provision was in-
tended for some useful purpose and has some force and effect.
Lyles v. Oheim, 138 Tex. 133, 142 S.W.2d 959, aff. 159 S.W.2d
102, (Civ.App., 1940).
Therefore, unless such a construction would conflict
with other provisions of the Mental Health Code, it appears that
the plain meaning of Article 5547-38, Vernon's Civil Statutes,
would authorize commitment for any period from 1 to 90 days.
An examination of the other provisions of the Mental
Health Code reveals two other Sections affecting the length of
commitment. Both of these Sections take effect subsequent to
the commitment and prior to the date of release set out in the
court order. One of these, Article 5547-78 (a) authorizes the
head of the hospital to file an application for temporary hos-
pitalization or indefinite commitment where it has been determined
that further hospitalization is necessary. Conversely, Article
5547-80 (a) authorizes the head of the hospital to discharge a
patient at any time no longer requiring hospitalization.
It is submitted that these sections do not conflict
with the County Court's original authority to commit the patient
but rather are additional provisions merely intended to provide
a simple and effective manner to more accurately fulfill the
needs of the individual patient. The discretion vested in the
head of the hospital would remain in full force and effect under
the construction of the Court's authority as given above, and
therefore it appears that these provisions present no real con-
flict with such natural meaning construction.
It is also persuasive that the authority for this
statute, Article I and XV, Constitution of Texas, provides for
commitment "for a period of time not to exceed ninety (90) days."
Giving effect to the plain provisions, without adding to, de-
tracting from or changing the law, clearly indicates that any
period of time not exceeding 90 days was authorized by the Cons-
titution and declared again by statutory enactment.
The County Court is authorized to commit a person
to a mental hospital for temporary hospitalization for
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Texas. Attorney-General's Office. Texas Attorney General Opinion: WW-1454, text, October 19, 1962; (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth268067/m1/2/: accessed March 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.