In re D.R., 22-0919

CourtCourt of Appeals of Iowa
Writing for the CourtBOWER, CHIEF JUDGE.
PartiesIN THE MATTER OF D.R., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, D.R., Respondent-Appellant.
Docket Number22-0919
Decision Date17 November 2022

IN THE MATTER OF D.R., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, D.R., Respondent-Appellant.

No. 22-0919

Court of Appeals of Iowa

November 17, 2022


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Paul D. Miller, Judge.

D.R. appeals the determination he is seriously mentally impaired. AFFIRMED.

David R. Fiester, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.

Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Chandlor Collins, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

Considered by Bower, C.J., and Greer and Badding, JJ.

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BOWER, CHIEF JUDGE.

D.R. appeals his involuntary commitment for serious mental impairment,[1]arguing he does not meet the statutory criteria-specifically claiming he has sufficient judgment to make responsible treatment decisions and does not present a danger to himself or others. We affirm because substantial evidence supports the district court finding D.R. is seriously mentally impaired.

I. Background.

Iowa Code chapter 229 provides for the hospitalization of persons with mental illness-both voluntary and involuntary. Involuntary commitment occurs after a third party files a verified application with specific criteria and a

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hospitalization hearing is held for the hospitalization referee to evaluate the necessity of involuntary commitment. Iowa Code §§ 229.6, .12

The application shall:

a. State the applicant's belief that the respondent is a person who presents a danger to self or others and lacks judgmental capacity due to either of the following
(1) A substance-related disorder as defined in section 125.2. (2) A serious mental impairment as defined in section 229.1. b. State facts in support of each belief described in paragraph "a".
c. Be accompanied by any of the following:
(1) A written statement of a licensed physician or mental health professional in support of the application.
(2) One or more supporting affidavits otherwise corroborating the application.
(3) Corroborative information obtained and reduced to writing by the clerk or the clerk's designee, but only when circumstances make it infeasible to comply with, or when the clerk considers it appropriate to supplement the information supplied pursuant to, either subparagraph (1) or (2).

Id. § 229.6(2).

D.R. has schizophrenia requiring medication, a history of delusions and hallucinations causing paranoia, and a substance-abuse disorder. He was involuntarily committed in November 2021 following acute hallucinations and seeking medical attention for alleged stings and bites from a scorpion infestation. D.R. filed an incoherent public safety report alleging the murder of a family member, he saw her body under a porch, and someone blamed him for the stabbing. In early December, D.R.'s medical treatment improved his condition and abated the danger he posed to himself and others. As a result, he was transitioned to an outpatient clinic.

In late December, D.R. attempted suicide by overdose and reported more hallucinations of harm to himself and family members. D.R. was returned to

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inpatient commitment. A placement hearing in January 2022 found D.R. struggles outside inpatient treatment and poses a danger to himself from self-medication. He remained in an inpatient commitment. D.R.'s involuntary commitment was continued in February, and he transferred to a residential facility with a lesser degree of supervision. In March, the hospitalization referee considered whether to continue D.R. with inpatient treatment. The referee found D.R. had improved his judgmental capacity but needed more time in a supervised facility, noting poor compliance with oral medication, and found D.R. posed a danger to himself based on recent self-harm and substance abuse when unsupervised.

D.R. appealed the March order to the district court. The court tried the matter anew, hearing testimony from D.R.'s treating provider at the residential facility and from D.R. See id. § 229.21. The weekend before his district court hearing, D.R. threatened to take the steering wheel while a staff member was driving and made threats to harm staff and their families.

During the judicial review hearing, the provider testified about D.R.'s claims of...

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