In the Matter of J. P., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.
J . P., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
and submitted August 17, 2018
Douglas County Circuit Court 17CC06384; William A. Marshall,
Alexander C. Cambier argued the cause for appellant. Also on
the brief was Multnomah Defenders, Inc.
Matthew A. Maile, Assistant Attorney General, argued the
cause for respondent. On the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum,
Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and
Cecil A. Reniche-Smith, Assistant Attorney General.
Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Shorr,
Summary: Appellant seeks reversal of a judgment of civil
commitment that committed him for a period not to exceed 180
days and an order prohibiting him from purchasing or
possessing a firearm. Appellant assigns error to the trial
court's determination that, because of a mental disease
or defect, he was a danger to others. Held: The
trial court erred. The state failed to present clear and
convincing evidence that appellant was a danger to others.
Random threats that appellant made to kill unnamed people who
he believed were following and monitoring him were neither
accompanied by an overt act to carry out the threats nor made
under circumstances that showed that appellant was highly
likely to engage in actual future violence.
Or.App. 229] SHORR, J.
seeks reversal of a judgment committing him for a period not
to exceed 180 days, ORS 426.l3O(1)(a)(C), and an order
prohibiting him from purchasing or possessing a firearm, ORS
426.l3O(1)(a)(D). Appellant challenges the trial court's
conclusion that, because of a mental disease or defect, he
was a danger to others. ORS 426.005 (1)(f)(A). Because the
state failed to present legally sufficient evidence that
appellant was a danger to others, we reverse.
we do not exercise our discretion to review this case de
novo, ORAP 5.40(8)(c), we view the evidence in the light
most favorable to the trial court's disposition to
determine whether the evidence, when so viewed, was legally
sufficient to support appellant's commitment. State
v. S. R. J., 281 Or.App. 741, 743, 386 P.3d 99 (2016);
State v. M. A., 276 Or.App. 624, 625, 371 P.3d 495
was civilly committed at a hearing that took place on October
31, 2017. At the time of the hearing, appellant was a
43-year-old man who had had delusional thoughts for at least
five years; however, he had never had any psychiatric
treatment or diagnosis before his current commitment. Before
the hearing, appellant had been living in Oregon for about
one month, primarily staying at a shelter, but also staying
intermittently with his mother and his daughter. Before
moving to Oregon, appellant had been living in California.
about five years, appellant has harbored a delusional belief
that he is being monitored by "the mafia."
Appellant's delusion regarding the mafia appears to have
originated with his neighbors in California, who he believed
were engaged in illegal activities and were monitoring him
because he had information on them. Appellant has, at various
times, believed that he was being monitored through overhead
electrical wires, robotic birds, his daughter's dog's
collar, his cell phone, and a surgically implanted pin in his
neck. Appellant volunteered that he had been arrested
previously for domestic violence and for "carrying a
pistol." With regard to the domestic-violence arrest,
appellant's mother testified that, six or seven years
before the hearing, [295 Or.App. 230] appellant and his
girlfriend had gotten into "a rather violent argument
and it resulted in the girlfriend having a broken nose."
appellant moved to Oregon, he believed that the mafia had
followed him from California and was continuing to monitor
him in Oregon. Appellant sent his mother photographs of a man
at a bus stop, who he believed was a member of the mafia. He
also sent his mother photos of "random cars" that
he took on his trip to Oregon, for the same purpose. On his
first night in Oregon, while staying with his daughter,
appellant became convinced that roofers working on a house
across the street were monitoring him. That night, appellant
asked his daughter to put a handgun on top of the
refrigerator "in case anything happened." His
daughter refused, but she put an unloaded shotgun under
appellant's bed to get him to "calm down and go to
mother got him a new cell phone to "get rid of all of
the stuff that might be in that old cell phone," because
appellant believed that his phone had been hacked. Appellant
then became convinced that his new cell phone was being
monitored. The day before appellant was hospitalized, he
asked his mother to take him to get a second new cell phone.
When she refused, appellant became so agitated that he threw
his cell phone against the dashboard of her car and began
stomping on it.
next day, appellant called his mother from a restaurant and
said, "I'm ready to deal with this. I'm ready to
get these people. Whatever means necessary, I need to do this
today." He also told her, "I don't care how I
have to do it. I'll kill them. I'll hang them.
I'll do whatever I have to. I need to deal with
this." Appellant's mother testified that "[t]he
whole thing seemed to be escalating." She became so