Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re B.H.

Supreme Court of Montana

November 27, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF: B.H., Respondent and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: September 5, 2018

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighteenth Judicial District, In and For the County of Gallatin, Cause No. DI 17-01C Honorable John C. Brown, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, James Reavis, Assistant Appellate Defender, Helena, Montana

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Ryan W. Aikin, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana, Martin D. Lambert, Gallatin County Attorney, Deborah Pratt, Deputy County Attorney, Bozeman, Montana

          OPINION

          JIM RICE JUSTICE

         ¶1 B.H. appeals from the findings of fact, conclusions of law, and order entered by the Eighteenth Judicial District Court, Gallatin County, committing him to the Montana State Hospital. We affirm and consider the following issue:

         Did the District Court commit plain error regarding the procedural safeguards in § 53-21-122(2)(a), MCA, necessitating appellate review?

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         ¶2 B.H. suffers from bipolar disorder. In late 2016 and early 2017, he suffered a severe manic episode during which he acted in ways his wife confirmed were uncharacteristic. She called police, who took B.H. to the emergency room and then to Hope House, a mental health facility in Bozeman. B.H. was uncooperative at Hope House, refusing treatment and stating he just needed a vacation. B.H. left Hope House against medical advice and was thereafter placed at Hays Morris House, a mental health facility in Butte, because Hope House had reached capacity. B.H. was likewise uncooperative at Hays Morris House, where he refused medication, threatened others, got into arguments, repeatedly removed his clothes, and tore baseboards from his room.

         ¶3 Adrian Utsch, a professional person employed by the Gallatin Mental Health Center, conducted a mental health evaluation of B.H. Based on her findings, Utsch sought initiation of a proceeding to involuntarily commit B.H. to the Montana State Hospital. The commitment petition, filed by the Gallatin County Attorney's Office, alleged that B.H. had threatened to kill his father and himself, he suffered from a mental disorder, he was substantially unable to provide for his own basic needs, and he was an imminent threat of injuring himself and others. The State's petition included a list of B.H.'s constitutional and statutory rights.

         ¶4 The District Court, pursuant to § 53-21-122, MCA, determined probable cause existed that B.H. suffered from a mental disorder requiring commitment, appointed counsel for B.H., and scheduled an initial hearing on the State's petition for January 9, 2017. B.H. attended his initial hearing via video from Hays Morris House in Butte. B.H.'s counsel was present in the courtroom, as was counsel for the state. At the outset of the hearing, B.H. acknowledged that he had seen the State's petition. After a discussion concerning whether B.H. needed an interpreter, because he kept answering the court in Spanish, B.H. asked whether the court could appoint Eduardo Garcia as his friend. The court agreed to do so, and at that point, B.H. interrupted, whereupon the following exchange occurred:

B.H.: I can have Amanda speak for me. She's right here.
The Court: Okay, well, Mr.-
B.H.: I will remove myself from the situation right now.
The Court: Okay.
B.H.: Will that speed things up?
The Court: Well, [B.H.], you don't have to because I, let me tell you what's going to happen.
B.H.: He's not listening. I'm going to go out (indecipherable).
The Court: All right. So, let the record show that [B.H.] has decided to step out of the hearing room. He has the right to do that . . . .
The Court: Showing that [B.H.] did appear for this hearing by video until he left the room; that I did not have a chance to advise him of his rights but Mr. Rutzke [counsel for B.H.], were you able to do that to a limited extent or?
Mr. Rutzke: I was not, Your Honor. I was not. I will make-
Female Voice: Do you want him to get a copy of his rights?
The Court: Yeah, he will-there's a copy of his rights attached to the Petition, ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.