In the Matter of T. W., Alleged to be a Person with Mental Illness.
T. W., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
Submitted Date: May 17, 2016
Multnomah County Circuit Court 15CC05146, Elizabeth
Fithian-Barrett, Judge pro tempore.
J. Deitrick and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., fled the brief for
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Paul L. Smith, Deputy
Solicitor General, and Susan Yorke, Assistant Attorney
General, fled the brief for respondent.
DeVore, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and DeHoog,
Summary: Appellant in this civil commitment case appeals a
judgment committing him to the custody of the Mental Health
Division for a period not to exceed 180 days. On appeal,
appellant asserts that the trial court erred in determining
that he presented a danger to himself and others.
The record lacks sufficient evidence to support the trial
court's determination that appellant posed a danger to
himself and others.
Or.App. 680]DEHOOG, J.
seeks reversal of a judgment committing him to the custody of
the Mental Health Division for a period not to exceed 180
days. See ORS 426.130. In his only assignment of
error, appellant contends that the trial court erred in
determining that he presented a danger to himself and others.
See ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). We agree and, for the
reasons set forth below, we reverse.
review of the trial court's judgment, "we view the
evidence, as supplemented and buttressed by permissible
derivative inferences, in the light most favorable to the
trial court's disposition and assess whether, when so
viewed, the record was legally sufficient to permit that
outcome." State v. S. R. J., 281 Or.App. 741,
743, 386 P.3d 99 (2016) (internal quotation marks
was 49 years old at the time of the civil commitment hearing
in September 2015. His history involving mental illness began
in the 1990s, when he was in his 20s; he was diagnosed with
schizophrenia and was at some point thereafter civilly
committed. In 2000 or 2001, appellant experienced auditory
hallucinations and believed that people were trying to harm
him; he also had an encounter with the police while he was in
front of his grandfather's house. In that encounter, he
pulled out a pellet gun in the presence of the police, and
officers subdued him by firing at him with beanbag rounds. At
some point after that incident, appellant received treatment
at the Oregon State Hospital.
period of time, appellant received treatment in the community
and did well-his medication worked for him and he experienced
stability. He worked with a health care organization as a
peer counselor for at least four years. He also served on the
board of a disability rights organization, and he advocated
for culturally competent services in Oregon's mental
health system. However, his stability changed in the few
years leading up to the commitment [291 Or.App. 681] hearing
that is the subject of this case. His behavior shifted around
the time that he was assigned a new counselor through the
Department of Veterans' Affairs (VA) and he was
prescribed a different medication that was not effective. He
appeared to have relapsed-he experienced auditory
hallucinations and struggled with behavioral issues, and his
memory changed, causing him to believe that he was still in
the 1990s. At some point after the period of stability,
appellant was involved in an incident at the credit union
office where he banked, resulting in him being barred from
that office location.
fall of 2014, appellant left the Portland area; he spent some
time in Seattle and then travelled to Canada with the intent
of seeking "political asylum." He feared living in
the United States as a gay black man with mental illness. In
April 2015, after his request for asylum in Canada was
denied, the Canadian authorities took him to the border,
where he crossed into the State of Washington. He then spent
time in Mexico and San Diego, California.
appellant was in the San Diego area, he placed a call to
Governor Brown's constituent office and left the
"This message is for Governor Kate Brown. This is
[appellant], the son of [a] former [state legislator]. Today
is Monday, June 15th. Governor Brown, call off your wolves!
Capiche? That means call off all of your fucking agents,
actors, and whatever the fuck else your goddam problem is,
bitch! You'll die! I consider you, bitch, a fucking
enemy. *** I'll kill you! Do you fucking understand?
I'll fucking kill you, bitch! You're an enemy. * * *
Don't fuck with me, I'll kill you dead, bitch!
You're a dead fucking ...