§ 21–542. Hearing by Commission; presence and rights of person affected; hearing regarding liability.
(a) The Commission shall promptly examine a person alleged to be mentally ill after the filing of a petition under section 21-541 and shall thereafter promptly hold a hearing on the issue of his mental illness. 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 health of the person named in such petition. In conducting the hearing, the Commission shall hear testimony of any person whose testimony may be relevant and shall receive all relevant evidence which may be offered. A person with respect to whom a hearing is held under this section may, in his discretion, be present at the hearing, to testify, and to present and cross-examine witnesses.
(b) The Commission shall also hold a hearing in order to determine liability under the provisions of section 21-586 for the expenses of commitment of the alleged mentally ill person, if it is determined that he is mentally ill and should be committed as provided under this chapter. The hearing may be conducted separately from the hearing on the issue of mental illness. If conducted separately, it may be conducted by the Chairman of the Commission alone.