743 N.E.2d 1148 (Ind.App. 2001), 53A04-0010-CV-439, In re Commitment of G.M.

Docket Nº53A04-0010-CV-439.
Citation743 N.E.2d 1148
Party NameIn the Matter of the COMMITMENT OF G.M. G.M., Appellant-Respondent, v. State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.
Case DateFebruary 12, 2001
CourtCourt of Appeals of Indiana

Page 1148

743 N.E.2d 1148 (Ind.App. 2001)

In the Matter of the COMMITMENT OF G.M.

G.M., Appellant-Respondent,

v.

State of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.

No. 53A04-0010-CV-439.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 12, 2001

Page 1149

Michael J. Spencer, Bloomington, IN, Attorney for Appellant.

Bret D. Raper, Bloomington, IN, Robert D. Mann, Andrews, Harrell, Mann, Carmin & Coyne, P.C., Bloomington, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

OPINION

RILEY, Judge

STATEMENT OF THE CASE

Appellant-Defendant, G.M., appeals the trial court's order of involuntary commitment for a period to exceed ninety days at the Center for Behavioral Health, in Bloomington, Indiana. G.M. also appeals the trial court's order for medication with or without his consent.

We affirm.

ISSUES

G.M. raises two issues on appeal, which we restate as follows:

1. Whether the trial court erred in finding that the State provided clear and convincing evidence to warrant his involuntary commitment.

2. Whether the trial court erred in finding that the State demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence that the probable benefits from the proposed forced medication outweighs the risk of harm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

G.M. is a 53-year-old male. He has been suffering from mental illness since the age of 14. He has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder and with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. He has been hospitalized approximately 31 times for this mental illness.

On July 31, 2000, an emergency detention application was filed. The application alleged that G.M. was having suicidal

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thoughts. It further indicated that he was making threatening remarks to his psychiatrist, Dr. Harter.

On August 1, 2000, a petition for involuntary commitment was filed by Kristin Shockey (Shockey), a health officer. Shockey is a case manager at the Center for Behavioral Health in Monroe County, Indiana, and G.M.'s case manager for the preceding six months. In the petition, Shockey maintained that G.M. had suicidal ideations as well as homicidal ideations. The petition was accompanied by a physician's statement by Dr. Harter. In his statement, Dr. Harter alleged that G.M. was dangerous to himself and others. Specifically, he stated:

Since stopping his [G.M.] medications he has had several brief stays at Transitional facility for suicidal thoughts. He has become increasingly paranoid to the extent that he believes medication is tainted with microscopic robots. He set off a smoke alarm with a lighter due to paranoia. He also told me that he would likely kill me if I persisted with involuntary treatment.

(R. 13). Finally, Harter concluded his statement with the following: "I am specifically requesting a forced medication order in addition to regular commitment." (R. 14).

On August 15, 2000, a hearing on the petition for involuntary commitment was held. At the hearing, Dr. Harter testified that G.M. is gravely disabled. As a basis for his opinion, Harter stated, "When he [G.M.] becomes delusional and depressed as he has been frequently lately he essentially just stops functioning. He doesn't eat well. He stays at home. He defecates on himself. He's often covered in vomit and his own excrement ..." (R. 34). Additionally, Dr. Harter testified...

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