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In re Z. W. Y.

Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 9, 2019

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

          Submitted February 26, 2019

          Marion County Circuit Court 16CC06622; Janet A. Klapstein, Judge pro tempore.

          Joseph R. DeBin and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., fled the brief for appellant.

          Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Inge D. Wells, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

          Before Hadlock, Presiding Judge, and DeHoog, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

         Case Summary:

         Appellant in this civil commitment case appeals an order continuing his commitment to the Oregon Health Authority for an additional period not to exceed 180 days. On appeal, appellant asserts that the trial court erred in determining that he was a danger to others because there was insufficient evidence in the record that he has seriously harmed anyone in the past.

         Held:

         The record, which included evidence of angry delusions leading to violent behavior before appellant's commitment, was sufficient to support a fending that appellant was highly likely to harm others if he were released.

         [299 Or.App.718] HADLOCK, P. J.

         This appeal is from an April 2018 order of continued commitment for mental illness. It serves as a counterpart to State v. Z. W. Y (A166276), 299 Or.App. 703, ___ P.3d___(2019), which was appellant's appeal from an earlier continued-commitment order. We reversed the order in Z. W. Y. (A166276) because the record, which included no evidence that appellant had ever harmed another person physically, did not support the trial court's determination that appellant's mental disorder made him a danger to others. Id. at___. Here, we reach the opposite result. In this case, more complete development of the record provides evidence that appellant's disorder has led him to engage in violent acts in the past, that he has a longstanding and intensely angry desire to punish A, a woman with whom he believes he has a relationship, and that his desire to retaliate against A for her perceived wrongdoing "will become much more urgent" if he is released from the hospital and stops taking his medications. Accordingly, we affirm.

         The task for the trial court in this continued-commitment proceeding was to "determine whether the person is still a person with mental illness and is in need of further treatment." ORS 426.307(6). The state sought continued commitment because, it contended, appellant's mental disorder made him a danger to others. Accordingly, the question for the trial court was whether appellant's mental disorder made him "highly likely to engage in future violence toward others, absent commitment." State v. S. E. R., 297 Or.App. 121, 122, 441 P.3d 254 (2019). A court can make such a determination only if the evidence supplies "a concrete and particularized foundation" for that prediction of future dangerousness. Id.[1]

         The record in this case includes evidence on three main topics: appellant's mental disorders; appellant's resulting focus on A, who has obtained a stalking protective order against him; and appellant's past interactions with [299 Or.App.719] other individuals, some of whom also have obtained protective orders against him.[2] The evidence came in through the testimony of Dr. Wolf, who has been in charge of appellant's treatment at the Oregon State Hospital since March 2018; appellant's testimony; and two exhibits offered by appellant-a detailed March 2018 treatment care plan and a one-page March 2018 "RN Risk/Safety Assessment."[3]

         We start by describing the evidence related to appellant's mental disorders. Appellant has been hospitalized (and, briefly, in jail) since he was arrested in 2015 and sent to the Oregon State Hospital "for aid and assist evaluation." He was admitted to the state hospital as a patient in January 2017, presenting with a "collection of delusional ideas, paranoia, agitation and stalking behavior" that was "consistent with a diagnosis of schizophrenia." Wolf, who has been in charge of appellant's treatment since March 2018, testified that appellant now has been "diagnosed with schizophrenia, paranoid type, and autism spectrum disorder." Appellant's disorder causes him to have delusions that "significantly affect his ability to live in society safely," in part because he believes that he emanates an odor that prevents him from living in an apartment or residential facility with other people; he prefers to be homeless. Appellant's disorder has caused him to present as "intensely] angry" and to be violent toward others in the past.

         Appellant takes both antipsychotic and antidepressive medications at the state hospital. He has indicated that he will stop taking medications if released. If that happens, Wolf testified, "the intensity and compulsion of his delusional beliefs will very soon reach the point where * * * this angry desire ...


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