State v. M. J. F. (In re M. J. F.), A171146

CourtCourt of Appeals of Oregon
Writing for the CourtKAMINS, J.
Citation306 Or.App. 544,473 P.3d 1141
Parties In the MATTER OF M. J. F., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness. State of Oregon, Respondent, v. M. J. F., Appellant.
Decision Date16 September 2020
Docket NumberA171146

306 Or.App. 544
473 P.3d 1141

In the MATTER OF M. J. F., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illness.

State of Oregon, Respondent,
v.
M. J. F., Appellant.

A171146

Court of Appeals of Oregon.

Argued and submitted March 11, 2020.
September 16, 2020


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

Kirsten M. Naito, Assistant Attorney General, argued the cause for respondent. Also on the brief were Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, and Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General.

Before Lagesen, Presiding Judge, and Powers, Judge, and Kamins, Judge.

KAMINS, J.

306 Or.App. 545

Appellant seeks reversal of an order involuntarily committing him to the Oregon Health Authority for up to 180 days, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove that he suffered from a mental disorder that makes him dangerous to himself or others. See ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C), (2). Because the record was legally sufficient to support the trial court's conclusion, we affirm.

Unless we exercise our discretion to review an order of civil commitment de novo (which we do not here), "we view the evidence, as supplemented and buttressed by permissible derivative inferences, in the light most favorable to the trial court's disposition and assess whether, when so viewed, the record was legally sufficient to permit that outcome." State v. T. Y ., 285 Or. App. 21, 22, 396 P.3d 986 (2017) (quoting State v. M. A., 276 Or. App. 624, 625, 371 P.3d 495 (2016) (internal quotation marks omitted)). Additionally, we are "bound by the trial court's findings of historical fact that are supported by any evidence in the record[.]" State v. M. J. M ., 301 Or. App. 638, 639, 456 P.3d 363 (2020) (quoting State v. R. E ., 248 Or. App. 481, 483, 273 P.3d 341 (2012) ). We state the facts in light of that standard of review.

On April 9, 2019, appellant called emergency services and asked to be transported to the hospital. He reported to emergency department staff that he was very depressed and that he wanted to kill his roommate by using one of the guns he owned. He further reported that he had been contemplating killing himself for the past seven weeks and that those thoughts occurred to him multiple times each day, lasting for between one and four hours each time that they occurred. He explained that voices in his head were telling him to kill himself and that God was telling him that his life was over and he needed to die so that he could "come home." Appellant also reported that he had attempted suicide by drug overdose one to two weeks before that hospital visit and that he had recently gone to a bridge and wanted to jump off. His plan at the time of his admission was to take his own life by jumping off a bridge or using one of his guns. Medical records confirmed that appellant had been hospitalized twice in the two months prior to this hospital

306 Or.App. 546

visit for suicidal ideations, including an attempt to take his own life by overdosing on pills two weeks earlier.

Appellant spent the next few weeks in the hospital and frequently reported both suicidal

473 P.3d 1143

and homicidal ideations. On April 21, he demanded his release from the hospital, but his providers were concerned about his safety, and civil commitment proceedings were commenced. After holding a hearing, the trial court determined that appellant posed a danger to both himself and others and ordered him committed to the authority of the Oregon Health Authority for 180 days.1

Under Oregon law, a person may be involuntarily committed if the person is determined to be "a person with mental illness." ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C). As relevant here, a "person with mental illness" is someone who suffers from a "mental disorder" and, as a result of that disorder, is "[d]angerous to self * * *." ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). Before the trial court, appellant did not dispute that he suffers from a mental disorder, but he maintained that he is not dangerous to himself. Appellant makes the same argument on appeal.

"[W]hether the evidence is sufficient to support a determination that appellant is a danger to [self] is a question we review as a matter of law." T. Y ., 285 Or. App. at 24, 396 P.3d 986. For purposes of ORS 426.005(1)(f), a person is dangerous to self "if the person's mental disorder would cause him or her to engage in behavior that is likely to result in physical harm to [self] in the near term." State v. B. B ., 240 Or. App. 75, 82, 245 P.3d 697 (2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). That determination requires evidence that the person's mental disorder "has resulted in harm or created situations likely to result in harm in the near future." Id . (Internal quotation marks omitted.) The threat of "potential harm must be more than speculative." T. Y ., 285 Or. App. at 25, 396 P.3d 986 (internal quotation marks omitted).

The record here is legally sufficient to support the trial court's decision that, at the time of the hearing,

306 Or.App. 547

appellant posed a danger to himself. During his hospitalization, appellant frequently discussed suicidal ideations. According to appellant's medical records, he reported that he wanted to take his own life on four of the seven days leading up to the civil commitment hearing. He had a specific plan that he communicated to hospital staff—that he would use a gun or jump off a bridge. The day before he signed the form requesting his release, he reported that he was thinking about suicide "all the time" and that "he intended to act on these thoughts after...

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15 practice notes
  • Wood v. Taylor, A166593
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • December 2, 2020
    ...is a standard of proof, "not a description of the credibility or believability of the evidence." State of Oregon v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 548, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020). It requires that " ‘the truth of the facts asserted is highly probable.’ " Id. (quoting Cook v. Mic......
  • State v. E. J. J. (In re E. J. J.), A164507
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • January 21, 2021
    ...standards," State v. D. L. W. , 244 Or. App. 401, 405, 260 P.3d 691 (2011) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 547, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020) (recognizing same, but drawing principles from case law addressing similar facts), we note that we considered r......
  • State v. M. T. (In re M. T.), A166509
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • January 6, 2021
    ...trial court's decision and assess whether, in that light, the record is legally sufficient to support that decision. State v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 545, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020).Appellant suffers from bipolar disorder. She had been hospitalized on previous occasions. At least one time, s......
  • State v. A. C. (In re A. C.), A168312
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • October 14, 2020
    ...not take medication is not supported by legally sufficient evidence in the record and was purely speculative. See State v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 548, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020) (explaining distinction between the "clear and convincing" standard of proof applied by a trial court i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • Wood v. Taylor, A166593
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • December 2, 2020
    ...is a standard of proof, "not a description of the credibility or believability of the evidence." State of Oregon v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 548, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020). It requires that " ‘the truth of the facts asserted is highly probable.’ " Id. (quoting Cook v. Mic......
  • State v. E. J. J. (In re E. J. J.), A164507
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • January 21, 2021
    ...standards," State v. D. L. W. , 244 Or. App. 401, 405, 260 P.3d 691 (2011) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 547, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020) (recognizing same, but drawing principles from case law addressing similar facts), we note that we considered r......
  • State v. M. T. (In re M. T.), A166509
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • January 6, 2021
    ...trial court's decision and assess whether, in that light, the record is legally sufficient to support that decision. State v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 545, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020).Appellant suffers from bipolar disorder. She had been hospitalized on previous occasions. At least one time, s......
  • State v. A. C. (In re A. C.), A168312
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • October 14, 2020
    ...not take medication is not supported by legally sufficient evidence in the record and was purely speculative. See State v. M. J. F. , 306 Or. App. 544, 548, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020) (explaining distinction between the "clear and convincing" standard of proof applied by a trial court i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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