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In re C.V.

Supreme Court of Montana

November 29, 2016

IN THE MATTER OF: C.V., Respondent and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: September 28, 2016

         APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, In and For the County of Dawson, Cause No. DI 15-02 Honorable Richard A. Simonton, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Brian Bulger, Attorney at Law, Great Falls, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Micheal Wellenstein, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana Oliva Norlin-Rieger, Dawson County Attorney, Glendive, Montana

          OPINION

          JAMES JEREMIAH SHEA JUDGE

         ¶1 C.V. appeals from a May 8, 2015 Order of the Seventh Judicial District Court, Dawson County, granting the State's petition for involuntary commitment.

         ¶2 We address the following issues on appeal:

Issue One: Whether the District Court erred in finding there was sufficient evidence to commit C.V. to the Montana State Hospital.
Issue Two: Whether C.V.'s right to remain silent was violated.
Issue Three: Whether C.V.'s right to due process was violated.

         ¶3 We affirm in part and reverse in part.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         ¶4 On April 29, 2015, the Dawson County Attorney petitioned the District Court for the involuntary commitment of C.V., alleging that as the result of a mental disorder, she was unable to provide for her own basic needs of safety, there was an imminent threat of injury to herself or others, and her recent acts or omissions would, if untreated, predictably result in deterioration of her mental condition to the point at which she would become a danger to herself or others or would be unable to provide for her own basic need of safety. The petition included mental health professional Albinus Heidt's report detailing his diagnosis of C.V. with a delusional disorder, and his conversations with two complaining witnesses, Tara Oakland and Kristin Thompson, regarding their interactions with C.V.

         ¶5 Mr. Heidt met with C.V. at the Glendive Medical Center to conduct a mental health evaluation, in which C.V. chose not to participate. In rambling speech and tangential responses to Mr. Heidt's questions, C.V. denied any serious mental illness, and communicated that she believed an acquaintance, Cy Wyse, was cheating her out of money and the Oakland family was blacklisting her from employment. C.V. was unable or unwilling to tell Mr. Heidt where she lived. When Mr. Heidt asked C.V. whether she was employed, she replied that this information "was either secret or confidential and she could not divulge that" to him. Mr. Heidt received information about C.V. from Oakland, Thompson, Wyse, Katie Mills of the Dawson County Sheriff's Office, and Dr. Joe Leal, C.V.'s treating physician. Because C.V. refused to participate in the mental health evaluation, Mr. Heidt relied heavily on information from ...


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