Archive | Involuntary commitment

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In the Matter of CC

In the Matter of CC, 2016 MT 174 (July 19, 2016) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, rev’d)

Issue: Whether the district court erred in failing to provide a detailed statement of facts justifying CC’s involuntary commitment.

Short Answer: Yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: In September 2014, the Lincoln County Attorney petitioned the district court for an order of involuntary commitment, alleging CC suffered from a mental disorder requiring commitment. A mental health professional form the Western Montana Mental Health Center requested the petition be filed, asserting that CC posed an imminent danger to herself and others. The district court issued an order finding probable cause and appointing an attorney, a statutory friend, and a professional person. Upon request by her attorney, CC was examined by a professional person of her own choosing.…

In the Matter of SH

In the Matter of SH, 2016 MT 137 (June 7, 2016) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court relied on sufficient evidence to determine SH required commitment, and (2) whether SH received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.


Facts: SH sought help from the Billings Clinic ER in November 2014, complaining there were snakes in her stomach, black bugs in the toilet, and the voices of God and Satan were arguing in her head. A psychiatrist at the clinic examined her and, upon his recommendation, the state petitioned to involuntarily commit SH on November 12, 2014. The district court ordered SH detained at the clinic pending resolution of the petition, appointed counsel to represent SH, and appointed the clinic psychiatrist as the professional person to evaluate SH.…

In the Matter of SGR

In the Matter of SGR, 2016 MT 70 (March 22, 2016) (Baker, J.; McKinnon, dissenting) (5-2, aff’d)

Issue: Whether the district court’s order met the statutory requirements for extending commitments under §§ 53-21-127 and -128, MCA.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: SGR is 76 years old, with a long history of severe alcoholism, mental health issues and multiple periods of institutionalization. He is in a wheelchair. Before his initial commitment in 2014, SGR had a pattern of receiving his social security check on the first of the month, staying at a hotel, and drinking until his money ran out. He would then check in to the Community Crisis Center in Billings for the rest of the month. At the Community Crisis Center in 2014, he suffered a seizure as a result of alcohol withdrawal and was hospitalized.…

Matter of BD

Matter of BD, 2015 MT 339 (Dec. 8, 2015) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether there was sufficient evidence to support a finding that BD required an order of involuntary commitment; and (2) whether the district court erred by failing to provide a detailed statement of the facts and basis for BD’’s commitment.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) no.


Facts: BD suffered a closed head injury in 2003 that led to secondary effects. He has been diagnosed with personality change due to traumatic brain injury. In February 2014, based on reports BD was not taking his medication and was decompensating, the county attorney petitioned for BD’s commitment an fro an order of apprehension, examination and treatment, which the district court issued.…

Matter of MP-L

Matter of MP-L, 2015 MT 338 (Dec. 2, 2015) (Wheat, J.; McKinnon, J., concurring) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in failing to provide a detailed statement of facts supporting its finding that MP-L required commitment in its first order; (2) whether the district court’s second order was procedurally invalid; and (3) whether the district court’s two orders together provide a sufficiently detailed statement of facts.

Short Answer: (1) Yes. The state acknowledges the order does not conform to the statute; (2) no; and (3) yes.


Facts: In May 2014, MP-L suffered a series of events triggered by her inability to obtain her depression/anxiety medication because of issues with Medicaid. She was voluntarily admitted to a crisis facility on May 27, 2014, and determined to be at high risk of suicide.…

In the Matter of EAL

In the Matter of EAL, 2015 MT 203 (July 21, 2015) (Wheat, J.; McKinnon, J., dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court’s finding that EAL posed an imminent threat of harm was clearly erroneous; and (2) whether the district court erred in basing findings of fact on statements made in the state’s petition for commitment.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.


Facts: EAL, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and antisocial personality traits, was evaluated by a mental health professional in Libby, who opined that EAL posed an imminent risk of danger to himself and others and recommended detention at St. Patrick Hospital. A petition setting for these facts was filed on May 30, 2014, and on the same day the district court found probable cause and ordered EAL be detained and evaluated.…

In the Matter of MKS

In the Matter of MKS, 2015 MT 146 (May 26, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether psychologist’s failure to file statutorily required written report in MKS’s civil commitment proceeding was plain error.

Short Answer: No.


Facts: MKS has been hospitalized numerous times for mental health illness. In November 2013, MKS stipulated to a 6-month community commitment. The order provided that MKS would remain at St. Pat’s Neurobehavioral Unit until she was stabilized, that she would keep all of he appointment and follow the recommendations of her treating professionals, and that she would take all of her medications, including injectable ones.

In January 2014, the state filed a “renewed” petition for commitment, stating police had taken MKS to the ER after she called the crisis line and said she was suicidal.…

In the Matter of BOT

In the Matter of BOT, 2015 MT 40 (Feb. 10, 2015) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: Whether substantial evidence supported the district court’s conclusion that BOT’s mental disorder rendered him unable to provide for his own basic needs.

Short Answer: Yes.


Facts: After being found on the ground at a bus station on a cold, rainy night in December 2013, BOT was admitted to the hospital. He was found to suffer from diabetes, hypertension, and hyperkalemia, and was observed to be uncooperative with the hospital staff. The social worker who conducted BOT’s mental health evaluation learned that BOT was a mental health center client, and that his condition was deteriorating because he would not take his medications.…