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In re D.S.

Supreme Court of Montana

June 4, 2019

IN THE MATTER OF: D.S., Respondent and Appellant.

          Submitted on Briefs: May 15, 2019

          APPEAL FROM: District Court of the First Judicial District, In and For the County of Lewis and Clark, Cause No. CDI 2017-68 Honorable Kathy Seeley, Presiding Judge

          For Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Lisa S. Korchinski, Assistant Appellate Defender,

          For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F. Schulz, Assistant Attorney General,

          Leo J. Gallagher, Lewis and Clark County Attorney, Katie Jerstad, Deputy County Attorney

          Ingrid Gustafson, Justice delivered the Opinion of the Court.

          OPINION

          INGRID GUSTAFSON, JUDGE.

         ¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(c), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

         ¶2 D.S. appeals the order of the First Judicial District, Lewis and Clark County, subjecting him to involuntary commitment at the Montana State Hospital (MSH). We affirm.

         ¶3 On December 6, 2017, the State filed a petition to involuntarily commit D.S. The petition alleged that D.S. suffered from mental illness and consequently was unable to provide for his own basic needs. On December 8, 2017, the District Court conducted a commitment hearing.

         ¶4 At the commitment hearing, the District Court heard testimony from four witnesses for the State and from D.S. The witnesses for the State included: the property manager of D.S.'s rental property, an adult protection specialist, a crisis response therapist, and D.S.'s mother. Based on the testimony of D.S. and the four witnesses for the State, the District Court orally asserted the following statement of the facts in support of finding D.S. to be suffering from a mental disorder and requiring commitment:

I have heard testimony of the horrible conditions in the apartment, using a sink as a restroom for weeks on end. I have heard that Mom found him in that apartment. Mom is payee. I do not think that he is able to care for himself based beyond a reasonable doubt, in my opinion, as to those elements. And we have the professional person, Ms. Waples, who testified that he does suffer from schizophrenia; he's not taking his medication, and that he will not improve if he is not taking medication. And that because of that, he is substantially unable to provide for his own basic needs: Food, clothing, shelter, health and safety. I think that's been proven here. I think there's a danger for self-injury, but perhaps we don't have sufficient proof of that. We do know that his needs require medication to treat, and I will order involuntary medication to protect [D.S.], to protect the public, and to facilitate treatment. I think the least restrictive placement is Montana State Hospital because of the need for involuntary medication. And I will order him to be transported to Montana State Hospital by the sheriff's department.

         ¶5 The District Court issued an initial written order to facilitate transport of D.S. to MSH. Additionally, counsel for D.S. requested a minute entry be made available to the transport officers. Five days later, on December 13, 2017, the District Court issued a second order detailing more thoroughly the supporting evidence, findings of fact, and conclusions of law.

         ¶6 Whether a district court's civil commitment order contains findings of fact that meet the statutory requirement is a question of law that we review for correctness. In re L.L.A., 2011 MT ...


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