State v. J. D. (In re J. D.), A172436

Citation315 Or.App. 316
Decision Date27 October 2021
Docket NumberA172436
PartiesIn the Matter of J. D., aka J. P. D., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness. v. J. D., aka J. P. D., Appellant. STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,
CourtCourt of Appeals of Oregon

315 Or.App. 316

In the Matter of J. D., aka J. P. D., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.

STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,

J. D., aka J. P. D., Appellant.


Court of Appeals of Oregon

October 27, 2021

Argued and submitted December 4, 2020

Marion County Circuit Court 19CC04930; Benjamin S. Johnston, Judge pro tempore.

Alexander C. Cambier argued the cause for appellant. Also on the brief was Multnomah Defenders, Inc.

Jona J. Maukonen, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

Before Armstrong, Presiding Judge, and Tookey, Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge.

[315 Or.App. 317] ARMSTRONG, P. J.



[315 Or.App. 318] Appellant appeals a judgment of the trial court civilly committing him to the custody of the Oregon Health Authority for up to 180 days based on the court's determination that he has a mental disorder that makes him dangerous to himself and to others. ORS 426.130; ORS 426.005 (1)(f)(a) (defining a person with "mental illness"). Appellant does not dispute that he has a mental disorder but contends that the evidence is insufficient to demonstrate that, because of his mental disorder, he presents a danger to himself or others that permits commitment under ORS 426.130 (1)(a)(C) and (2). We conclude that the evidence was sufficient and therefore affirm.

Appellant has been diagnosed with a bipolar disorder.[1] Appellant has financial resources and is of extremely high intelligence. He has a primary care mental health professional whom he sees regularly. He has no history of violence. There is no evidence that appellant has ever attempted to carry out verbal threats of physical violence. There is no evidence that appellant has a gun.

There is evidence that, in the month before he was placed on an involuntary hold, appellant's mental health disorder caused him to engage in disruptive behaviors in the neighborhood where he lives. He started small fires in the street and threatened to stab passers-by if they came too close, and he screamed and yelled and was verbally aggressive. Appellant also verbally threatened to kill a bank teller. Further, during a visit with a mental health clinician from the Behavioral Health Unit of the Portland Police Department, appellant pounded on a table with his hand and held a golf club in a menacing manner but did not swing the club or otherwise directly threaten the clinician or anyone else.

Appellant believes that the police are targeting and harassing him, and he has verbalized general threats to kill them.[2] He also told one police officer that he would put a


[315 Or.App. 319] gun to the officer's head and kill him, although he did not have a weapon. There is evidence that appellant attempted to enter a gun show with the goal of purchasing 150 rounds of ammunition. At the hospital, appellant asked to be placed in seclusion because of his belief that he might harm someone. He declined medication, explaining that it blunts his cognitive abilities.

The emergency room psychiatrist who examined appellant when he came to the hospital the day before the commitment hearing testified that she believed that appellant was "experiencing mania possibly with psychotic features" and that, if he were released on the day of the hearing, he would pose a moderate to high risk to others. Several other witnesses testified that they believed that appellant's behavior was escalating to violence.[3] Two examiners appointed by the court submitted reports and agreed with


[315 Or.App. 320] other witnesses that appellant's behavior was escalating to violence and opined that the danger posed by appellant was "extraordinarily high."

Appellant acknowledges the diagnosis of bipolar disorder but testified that he believes that it is incorrect. He testified that he has been beaten up by law enforcement while in custody, but that, although he believes that he is being targeted and harassed by corrupt police, he has no desire to obtain a gun or to kill people. When asked by an examiner at the hearing whether he had an intention to harm law enforcement officers, appellant testified, "Not me doing harm to them, God providing retribution to them." He later elaborated, "I make the distinction of what I think should happen and what I'm going to do. And I am not authorized to use force."

The trial court found that, because of his "extremely high IQ," appellant might be able to carry out a plan to obtain weapons. The trial court found that appellant's threats to police and bank personnel, as well as his articulated plans-no matter how unrealistic-to kill or incite others to kill police, made him a danger to others and to himself.

Under ORS 426.130(1)(a), a person may be involuntarily committed only upon proof, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person has a mental illness. A person has a mental illness if, because of a mental disorder, the person is a danger "to self or others." ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). At the hearing, appellant disputed that he has bipolar disorder. On appeal, as noted,...

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