Curtis v. District Court of Twenty-First Judicial Dist. In and For County of Ravalli, TWENTY-FIRST

Docket NºTWENTY-FIRST
Citation879 P.2d 1164, 51 St.Rep. 776, 266 Mont. 231
Case DateAugust 30, 1994
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Montana

Page 1164

879 P.2d 1164
266 Mont. 231
Franklin T. CURTIS, Petitioner,
v.
DISTRICT COURT OF the TWENTY-FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF the
STATE of Montana, in and for the COUNTY OF
RAVALLI, and the Honorable Jeffrey
Langton, Presiding Judge, Respondents.
Ivan VILENSKY, Petitioner,
v.
DISTRICT COURT OF the FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT OF the STATE
of Montana, in and for the COUNTY OF MISSOULA and
the Honorable John S. Henson Presiding
Judge, Respondents.
Nos. 94-097 and 94-107.
Supreme Court of Montana.
Submitted on Briefs August 23, 1994.
Decided August 30, 1994.

[266 Mont. 232] Donald Spadone, Hamilton, Larry Mansch, Public Defender Office, Missoula, for petitioners.

Joseph P. Mazurek, Atty. Gen., John Paulson, Asst. Atty. Gen., Helena, George Corn, Ravalli County Atty., Hamilton, Robert Deschamps, III, Missoula County Atty., Missoula, for respondents.

Lonnie J. Olson, Mental Disabilities Bd. of Visitors, Warm Springs, for amicus curiae.

GRAY, Justice.

We accepted original jurisdiction of these consolidated cases to address the following issue of first impression presented in Applications for Writ of Supervisory Control: Whether a defendant awaiting trial on criminal charges, who has been determined to lack the fitness to proceed, may be involuntarily medicated or treated for his underlying mental condition during the 90-day commitment period prescribed in § 46-14-221, MCA. We reverse orders of the Twenty-First Judicial District Court, Ravalli County, and the

Page 1165

Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County, authorizing such involuntary medication and treatment and remand for further proceedings.

These consolidated cases are factually similar to the extent necessary for our resolution of the legal issue before us. Thus, abbreviated factual summaries are sufficient to provide a foundation for our analysis.

State v. Franklin T. Curtis

In response to being charged by information with two counts of deliberate homicide and three counts of felony assault in the Twenty-First Judicial District Court, Ravalli County, Franklin T. Curtis (Curtis) moved for a psychiatric examination and filed notice of intent to rely on the defense of mental disease or defect. The District Court appointed Dr. William Stratford to conduct a psychiatric examination of Curtis.

[266 Mont. 233] Following the examination and upon motion of the State of Montana (State), the District Court determined that a doubt existed about Curtis' fitness to proceed, and ordered that he be examined at the Montana State Hospital at Warm Springs (State Hospital) pursuant to § 46-14-202, MCA. Subsequent to that examination, the court determined that Curtis was "not now fit to proceed" and ordered him committed to the custody of the Director of the Department of Corrections and Human Services (Department Director) for placement, as recommended by the court, at the State Hospital pursuant to § 46-14-221, MCA. The court's order suspended further criminal proceedings during Curtis' commitment and authorized involuntary medication for Curtis' mental illness as deemed necessary by the Department Director. The District Court stayed the involuntary medication pending Curtis' application to this Court for a writ of supervisory control.

State v. Ivan Vilensky

Ivan Vilensky (Vilensky) was charged via information with two counts of felony assault and one count of misdemeanor assault in the Fourth Judicial District Court, Missoula County. Following a joint request by Vilensky and the State, the District Court ordered that Vilensky be examined to determine his fitness to proceed pursuant to § 46-14-202, MCA.

Subsequent to that examination and further proceedings, the District Court found Vilensky unfit to proceed and committed him to the custody of the Department Director pursuant to § 46-14-221(2), MCA. The court authorized involuntary antipsychotic medication and treatment of Vilensky, but stayed the involuntary medication and treatment pending Vilensky's application to this Court for a writ. Vilensky's counsel stipulated to preserving the State's "right" to a full 90-day evaluation period.

May a defendant who is awaiting trial on criminal charges, and who has been determined to lack the fitness to proceed, be involuntarily medicated or treated for his underlying mental condition during the 90-day commitment period prescribed in § 46-14-221(2), MCA?

The issue before us is limited to whether the State may involuntarily treat and medicate the underlying mental condition of a defendant committed pursuant to § 46-14-221(2), MCA, and, in so doing, attempt to render the defendant fit to proceed to trial. Not before us are the questions of medication and treatment for medical conditions [266 Mont. 234] other than the underlying mental condition or whether, how, and to what extent, the State may involuntarily medicate a defendant committed pursuant to § 46-14-221(2), MCA, in order to constrain behavioral manifestations of the defendant's underlying mental condition which demonstrably render the defendant a danger to himself or others.

All parties, including the State on behalf of Respondent District Courts and amicus curiae Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors, address the issue before us via both statutory interpretation and extensive constitutional analysis. The State argues that both § 46-14-221, MCA, and the United States Constitution permit involuntary medication and treatment of Curtis and Vilensky for their mental illnesses during this period of commitment for the purpose of rendering them fit to proceed to trial on the charges against them. Curtis, Vilensky and amicus curiae

Page 1166

contend to the contrary. Because we hold that § 46-14-221(2), MCA, does not authorize the involuntary medication or treatment of a defendant's underlying mental condition, we do not address the significant constitutional issues which would arise in the event of a different statutory interpretation.

Montana provides by statute that a person who, as a result of a mental disease or defect, is unable to understand the proceedings or assist in his or her defense, may not be...

To continue reading

Request your trial
12 practice notes
  • State v. Wolf, DA 18-0028
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • February 4, 2020
    ...the court to construe.’ " Swearingen v. State , 2001 MT 10, ¶ 5, 304 Mont. 97, 18 P.3d 998 (quoting Curtis v. 21st Judicial Dist. Court , 266 Mont. 231, 235, 879 P.2d 1164, 1166 (1994) ). ¶16 At the outset it should be noted that, "[i]n Montana, a ‘conviction’ requires a judgment or sentenc......
  • Casarotto v. Lombardi, No. 93-488
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • December 15, 1994
    ...and unambiguous; under such a circumstance, we are obligated to so interpret it (Curtis v. Dist. Court of 21st Jud. Dist. (Mont.1994), 879 P.2d 1164, 1166, 51 St.Rep. 776, 778) and conclude that the notice requirement is not applicable to the contract before us. Since the statute is inappli......
  • State v. Rogers, No. 93-351
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • October 25, 1994
    ...summarized in our decision in the consolidated cases of Curtis v. District Court and Vilensky v. District Court, (1994), --- Mont. ----, 879 P.2d 1164. There, we Our role in construing statutes is clear. We must "ascertain and declare what is in terms or in substance contained therein ...;"......
  • State v. Black, No. 94-253
    • United States
    • March 23, 1995
    ...charged...." The language of the statute is so plain as to need no interpretation. See Curtis v. Dist. Court of 21st Jud. Dist. (1994), 266 Mont. 231, 234, 235, 879 P.2d 1164, 1166 (citation omitted). Page 1165 Because we assume for purposes of this case that sexual assault is a lesser incl......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
12 cases
  • State v. Wolf, DA 18-0028
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • February 4, 2020
    ...to construe.’ " Swearingen v. State , 2001 MT 10, ¶ 5, 304 Mont. 97, 18 P.3d 998 (quoting Curtis v. 21st Judicial Dist. Court , 266 Mont. 231, 235, 879 P.2d 1164, 1166 (1994) ). ¶16 At the outset it should be noted that, "[i]n Montana, a ‘conviction’ requires a judgment or sentenc......
  • Casarotto v. Lombardi, No. 93-488
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • December 15, 1994
    ...and unambiguous; under such a circumstance, we are obligated to so interpret it (Curtis v. Dist. Court of 21st Jud. Dist. (Mont.1994), 879 P.2d 1164, 1166, 51 St.Rep. 776, 778) and conclude that the notice requirement is not applicable to the contract before us. Since the statute is inappli......
  • State v. Rogers, No. 93-351
    • United States
    • Montana United States State Supreme Court of Montana
    • October 25, 1994
    ...summarized in our decision in the consolidated cases of Curtis v. District Court and Vilensky v. District Court, (1994), --- Mont. ----, 879 P.2d 1164. There, we Our role in construing statutes is clear. We must "ascertain and declare what is in terms or in substance contained therein ......
  • State v. Black, No. 94-253
    • United States
    • March 23, 1995
    ...The language of the statute is so plain as to need no interpretation. See Curtis v. Dist. Court of 21st Jud. Dist. (1994), 266 Mont. 231, 234, 235, 879 P.2d 1164, 1166 (citation omitted). Page 1165 Because we assume for purposes of this case that sexual assault is a lesser included offense ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT