In the Matter of M. J. M., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.
M. J. M., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
Submitted September 12, 2019
County Circuit Court 18CC05817; Maurice K. Merten, Judge.
R. DeBin and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., fled the brief for
F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman,
Solicitor General, fled the brief for respondent.
Ortega, Presiding Judge, and Shorr, Judge, and James, Judge.
Summary: Appellant seeks reversal of the judgment committing
her to the Mental Health Division for a period not to exceed
180 days, challenging only the trial court's conclusion,
under ORS 426.130(1)(a)(A), that she would neither cooperate
with nor benefit from voluntary treatment. Held: The
record supported the trial court's conclusion that
appellant had failed to establish that she was willing and
able to participate in voluntary treatment and would probably
Or.App. 639] ORTEGA, P. J.
seeks reversal of the judgment committing her to the custody
of the Mental Health Division for a period not to exceed 180
days. ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C). Appellant does not challenge the
conclusion that she has a mental illness; instead, she argues
that the trial court erred in concluding that she was
unwilling to participate in voluntary treatment. ORS
426.130(1)(a)(A). Because we conclude that the record
supports the trial court's conclusion that appellant
failed to meet her burden of establishing by a preponderance
of the evidence that she was willing and able to participate
in voluntary treatment and will probably do so, we affirm.
party has requested de novo review, and we do not
view this as an exceptional case warranting such review.
See ORAP 5.40(8)(c). Therefore, we review the
sufficiency of the evidence supporting appellant's
commitment for legal error and are "bound by the trial
court's findings of historical fact that are supported by
any evidence in the record!.]" State v. R. E.,
248 Or.App. 481, 483, 273 P.3d 341 (2012). We state the
relevant facts "consistently with the trial court's
express and implied findings, as supplemented with
uncontroverted contextual information from the record."
State v. B. B., 240 Or.App. 75, 77, 245 P.3d 697
(2010) (citation and internal quotation marks omitted).
had a history of mental health issues (recurrent and severe
major depression and borderline personality disorder) and
suicide attempts. In the events leading up to her
hospitalization, police responded to appellant's house
after a medical staff person reported that appellant had
disclosed plans to commit suicide. Upon arriving, police
found a loaded rifle and several bottles of medication inside
appellant's house. After investigating the scene and
asking appellant regarding her suicide plans, the police
believed she would carry out her plans and took her into
custody. A certified mental health investigator concluded
that appellant would not benefit from a program of voluntary
treatment and recommended that she remain in custody.
Or.App. 640] At the commitment hearing, the state presented
evidence that, in the last year alone, appellant had
attempted suicide at least six times, and her son had
intervened by removing guns from her home following numerous
suicide threats. During the current hospitalization,
appellant continued to express suicidal thoughts, including
the night before the hearing, when she had informed a social
worker that "she continued to feel suicidal and wanted
to get a gun and kill herself after discharge."
Additionally, Dr. Streck, appellant's evaluating
psychiatrist, testified that there was little improvement in
her condition. Although Streck had doubled her medication
dosage, appellant had reported "feel[ing] about the same
as she did when she came into the hospital."
Appellant's condition, combined with her history of
suicide attempts, led Streck to determine that, without
continued treatment, "she'll end her life."
testified against commitment, stating that she was feeling
better than when she first arrived at the hospital and that
she was taking all her medications as prescribed. Appellant
felt that her medications were "starting to kick
in" despite several previous issues with her dosage and
stated that she was interested in voluntary treatment and
preferred to be at home rather than at the hospital.
Ultimately, the trial court concluded that appellant would
neither cooperate with nor benefit from voluntary treatment;
therefore, it committed her to the Mental Health Division
against her will.
appeal, appellant argues that she met her burden of proving
by a preponderance of the evidence that she was willing and
able to and would probably participate in voluntary
treatment. Appellant maintains that she would continue to
work with a psychiatrist and a therapist in the community if
released from the hospital. Appellant argues that the trial
court provided no reason for its conclusion that she would
not comply with voluntary treatment.
court determines that a person is mentally ill based upon
clear and convincing evidence, the court must order the
person's release and dismiss the case if the person is
"willing and able to participate in treatment on a
voluntary basis" and the court finds that "the
person will [301 Or.App. 641] probably do so." ORS
426.130(1)(a)(A)(i) - (ii). The mentally ill person has the
burden of establishing the foregoing ...