IN THE MATTER OF: D.S., Respondent and Appellant.
Submitted on Briefs: May 15, 2019
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
Appellant: Chad Wright, Appellate Defender, Lisa S.
Korchinski, Assistant Appellate Defender,
Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F.
Schulz, Assistant Attorney General,
Gallagher, Lewis and Clark County Attorney, Katie Jerstad,
Deputy County Attorney
Gustafson, Justice delivered the Opinion of the Court.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 ...