In the Matter of M. B., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.
M. B., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
Submitted July 3, 2018
Multnomah County Circuit Court 17CC04251; Monica M. Herranz,
Judge pro tempore.
Peterson and O'Connor Weber LLC fled the brief for
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor
General, and Judy C. Lucas, Assistant Attorney General, fled
the brief for respondent.
DeHoog, Presiding Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge, and Hadlock,
Judge pro tempore.
Summary: The trial court found that appellant is unable to
provide for her basic personal needs and, under ORS
426.130(1)(a)(C) and ORS 426.005(1) (f)(B), civilly committed
her to the Oregon Health Authority for a period not to exceed
180 days. Appellant appeals, arguing that the evidence was
insufficient to support the finding. The record shows that
appellant was found naked outside of a bar. She was dirty,
had minor cuts on her recently-shaven head, and made
nonsensical statements to a police officer. She was taken to
a hospital, where she told an investigator that she could not
obtain food stamps because she had lost her identification,
made many nonsensical statements, and engaged in some bizarre
behavior. At her civil commitment hearing, appellant lacked a
clear post-release housing plan. Held: The evidence
as a whole was insufficient to civilly commit appellant based
on inability to meet basic personal needs under ORS
426.130(1) (a)(C) and ORS 426.005(1)(f)(B).
Or.App. 523] AOYAGI, J.
seeks reversal of a judgment committing her to the Oregon
Health Authority for a period not to exceed 180 days. She
argues that the evidence was insufficient to support the
trial court's finding that she was unable to provide for
her basic personal needs, which is a basis for commitment
under ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C) and ORS 426.005 (1)(f)(B). We
agree with appellant and, accordingly, reverse.
we exercise our discretion to review de novo- which
we do not in this case-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. T. W. W., 289 Or.App. 724,
726, 410 P.3d 1032 (2018) (internal quotation marks omitted).
We describe the facts in accordance with that standard.
Ibrahim was dispatched to a local bar after the police
received multiple calls that a woman was harassing customers
outside the bar. It was mid-July and around 8:00 p.m. Upon
arrival, Ibrahim observed appellant standing fully naked on
the side of the street. When he got out of his car, appellant
put her shirt on, although she later took it off again (and
then put it on again at his request). A woman standing next
to appellant told Ibrahim that she knew appellant from high
school and that appellant was "not being herself."
Ibrahim observed that appellant was dirty, "basically
didn't have any hair," and had minor cuts on her
head. Appellant appeared not to know exactly where she was.
She talked about "an invisible dog that was not
there" and pointed at things that were not there.
Appellant told Ibrahim that she had taken Xanax. Believing
her to be at risk, Ibrahim called an ambulance to take
appellant to the hospital. He thought, based on her
appearance and behavior, that she was suffering from some
sort of mental health issue and was a danger to herself and
not able to "care for herself."
was hospitalized. On her first night at the hospital, she
told the pre-commitment investigator that she had not been
eating well, had been hungry, and had [300 Or.App. 524] lost
weight. She explained that she had been unable to get food
stamps because she lost her identification. She also said
that she had no current income. The next day, the
investigator found appellant to be "significantly
worse." Appellant made many "nonsensical
statements" and engaged in "flight of ideas."
She acknowledged to the investigator that she had defecated
on the floor of her hospital room because she "had to
go" and the bathroom smelled bad. She also acknowledged
having put medication up her rear end and in her vagina and
then offered it to the security guard, and she acted as if
that was "perfectly reasonable" conduct. Appellant
told the investigator that she was sorry about having shaved
her head and wanted to grow her hair long again; she said
that her head hurt from a sunburn, and the investigator noted
that it was quite red.
commitment hearing was held in July 2017. The state sought
civil commitment under ORS 426.130 (1)(a)(C) and ORS
426.005(1)(f)(B), based on appellant being unable to provide
for her basic personal needs. No other bases for commitment
testified about the circumstances of appellant's
hospitalization, as described above, and then appellant
testified. Appellant testified that she "[didn't]
really know" why she was in the hospital. She said that
she must have been "dehydrated" or had "a
bug." Asked how she would obtain money if released,
appellant said that she could be a Playboy Bunny for Hugh
Hefner. Shortly thereafter, appellant spontaneously
said-seemingly not in response to the pending question-that
she was "tired of people beating [her] ass" and
that, while she was "walk[ing] down the street one day
to get [her] shoes back," a man once threw her down [300
Or.App. 525] and severely hurt her back and, when she woke
up, a woman was "beat[ing] the bug out of [her]"
and "cracked [her] in the head." Later, appellant
said that she thought she had borderline personality disorder
but "[didn't] even know what any of that stuff is
really." She said that she did not want to be in a
psychiatric hospital, preferred to be outside, and was
"not a psychopath." Asked where she would go if
released, appellant said that she would "march right
over there to Tyler's house," or, "could go to
John's house if somebody would call him." During the
hearing, appellant was drinking from a water bottle with a
banana peel in it, which she explained was for extra
potassium. Appellant made many nonsensical statements
throughout her testimony. She could not recall why she had
been naked outside the bar.
Edelson gave her report to the court, which contained
diagnostic impressions of psychosis not otherwise specified
and methamphetamine-induced psychosis. (Appellant had tested
positive for amphetamines when she arrived at the hospital.)
Edelson listed appellant's symptoms as "visual
hallucinations, tangential, flight of ideas, delusions,
grandiose." She reported that appellant "[c]annot
answer direct questions in a meaningful way" and that
"her only organized statement" was her
"clear" statement that she wanted to be released.
Edelson found that appellant had "no insight into being
naked downtown [and] no explanation for her behavior"
and that she "is too disorganized to plan and follow
through [with outpatient] care or even shelter." As for
Rogers, he noted that appellant "had no realistic or
rational plan should she be released." Rogers ...