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In re T. T.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 15, 2018

In the Matter of T. T., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.
v.
T. T., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,

          Submitted March 21, 2017

          Marion County Circuit Court 16CC03459 Rafael A. Caso, Judge pro tempore.

          Jason E. Thompson and Ferder Casebeer French & Thompson, LLP, fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Shannon T. Reel, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Egan, Chief Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary: Appellant in this civil commitment case appeals an order committing her to the custody of the Oregon Health Authority for a period not to exceed 180 days. She asserts that the trial court erred in determining that she was a danger to others. Held: The evidence in the record is legally sufficient to support the trial court's determination that appellant posed a danger to others.

         Affirmed.

         [293 Or.App. 377] DEHOOG, P. J.

         Appellant seeks reversal of an order committing her to the custody of the Oregon Health Authority for a period not to exceed 180 days. See ORS 426.130. In her only assignment of error, appellant contends that the trial court erred in determining that she was a danger to others. See ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). We conclude that the evidence in the record is legally sufficient to support that determination; accordingly, we affirm.

         Appellant asks us to take de novo review of a particular factual finding of the trial court. However, we decline to exercise our discretion to do so. See ORS 19.415(3)(b) ("Upon an appeal in an equitable action or proceeding * * * the Court of Appeals, acting in its sole discretion, may try the cause anew upon the record or make one or more factual findings anew upon the record." (Emphasis added.)). Therefore, on review of the trial court's ruling, "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 omitted).

         In May 2016, appellant stabbed her husband in the hand with a knife; the police subsequently transported her to the hospital. Upon arrival at the emergency department, appellant was speaking in rhymes and was unable to provide her name or date of birth. She reported that she had stabbed her husband because of a "covenant." She also reported that she was experiencing auditory hallucinations and had thoughts about hurting others. Appellant was covered in bruises on her arms and legs, reportedly the result of her husband "holding her down for several hours." According to appellant, "he said he just wanted to help [her]."

         While appellant was in the hospital pending the commitment hearing, the attending psychiatrist, Dr. Miller, made a diagnosis of "Bipolar I Disorder, manic episode (first), severe with psychosis." Miller noted that appellant's thought content included "grandiose delusions," and that she [293 Or.App. 378] had poor insight, was impulsive, had impaired judgment, "[m]inimized and discounted [the] injury to [her] spouse," and reported hallucinations, though it was unclear if hallucinations were then currently present. Appellant refused to take the medication that was prescribed for her.

         At the time of the stabbing, appellant was 24 years old and had been married to her husband for seven years. They had two children, one who was three years old and one who was six months old. Appellant reported that she had been hearing voices since her late teens and that, after the birth of her second child, she had begun to experience increased symptoms of depression and auditory hallucinations.

         A certified mental health investigator, Hudkins, conducted an investigation and interviewed appellant twice before the commitment hearing, which took place on June 6, 2016. Hudkins prepared a report, which the court admitted without objection at the hearing. Upon first meeting Hudkins in a safety room at the hospital, appellant acknowledged that she had stabbed her husband in the hand and described the events of that night. She said that she "was dancing [and] spinning around," had broken some dishes, and "went psychotic for a moment." She stated that she was trying to "play a part, to lead him" to get her husband to see her point of view. Appellant also told Hudkins that she and her husband had been involved in a "cult" for many years, and stated that she was "brainwashed for eight years." She further stated that she "felt threatened by a predator in [her] house" and that the predator was her husband. A short time later, appellant told Hudkins that she felt safe with her husband, trusted him with her life, and that he was the love of her life. She acknowledged to Hudkins that she hears voices at times, but declined to say what the voices said to her at any given time.

         The second time Hudkins met with appellant- which took place on the basketball court at the psychiatric facility where she was being treated-Hudkins observed appellant as she held the broken end of a brush and sang into it as if it were a microphone, then tossed it to the ground and began to dance around. Appellant refused [293 Or.App. 379] Hudkins's request to speak with her and instead continued to dance. After Hudkins attempted a second time to engage appellant in conversation, appellant told Hudkins that she did not trust social workers and would not talk to her; she would only talk to her attorney, who was supposed to come in later that day. Appellant continued to dance, taking large animated steps in circles around the basketball court. In her report, Hudkins described appellant from that ...


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