State v. S.E. (In re S. E.), A174219

CourtCourt of Appeals of Oregon
Writing for the CourtTOOKEY, P. J.
Decision Date04 August 2021
PartiesIn the Matter of S. E., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illnes STATE OF OREGON, Respondent, v. S. E., Appellant.
Docket NumberA174219

313 Or.App. 678

In the Matter of S. E., a Person Alleged to have Mental Illnes

STATE OF OREGON, Respondent,

S. E., Appellant.


Court of Appeals of Oregon

August 4, 2021

Submitted June 17, 2021

Multnomah County Circuit Court 20CC03398; Heidi H. Moawad, Judge.

Alexander C. Cambier and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., fled the brief for appellant.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Benjamin Gutman, Solicitor General, and Carson L. Whitehead, Assistant Attorney General, fled the brief for respondent.

Before Tookey, Presiding Judge, and Aoyagi, Judge, and Hadlock, Judge pro tempore.

[313 Or.App. 679]TOOKEY, P. J.

Appellant seeks reversal of a judgment involuntarily committing her to the Mental Health Division for up to 180 days and an order prohibiting her from purchasing or possessing firearms, arguing that the evidence was insufficient to prove that she suffered from a mental disorder that makes her dangerous to herself or others. See ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C), (D), (2); ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). We conclude that the record contains legally sufficient evidence to support the trial court's determination that appellant was a danger to others within the meaning of ORS 426.005(1)(f)(A). Therefore, we affirm.[1]

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. M. J. K, 306 Or.App. 544, 545, 473 P.3d 1141 (2020) (internal quotation marks omitted). We state the facts in accordance with that standard.

Appellant had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Appellant believed that her husband was "having an affair" with their neighbor; believed that her husband had stolen her identity and filled prescriptions in her name; and was afraid that her husband was trying to "take her child from her."

Shortly before the involuntary commitment hearing in this case, appellant had two interactions with her neighbor that were "shocking" to her neighbor. First, while appellant's neighbor was outside with the neighbor's dog at 11:30 p.m., appellant attempted to take the neighbor's dog from the neighbor when the neighbor would not go to appellant's backyard with appellant, telling the neighbor that she [313 Or.App. 680] could return in an hour to retrieve her dog. Second, the next day, while appellant's neighbor was outside walking her dog, appellant accused her neighbor of being there to see her husband, grabbed her neighbor, and said, "Let's go." Her neighbor said, "I'm not going anywhere with you."

The following day, appellant had left her house (through the front door) and reentered into her bedroom (through the bedroom window). Appellant's husband heard her voice from the bedroom and entered the bedroom. Appellant had a hammer in her hand and said to him, "I think it's time for you to leave."[2] She was holding the hammer high and started coming toward her husband, who closed the bedroom door and held it closed. Appellant then started hitting the doorknob with the hammer, denting the doorknob. When there was a pause hammering, appellant's husband opened the door, grabbed appellant's wrists, and "pried" the hammer out of appellant's hands. Appellant's husband then tried to restrain appellant, but after she started "screaming and yelling" he "let her go" and she ran back out of the house "claiming that the cops were going to arrest [appellant's husband] because [he] beat her." Appellant's husband called the police, and appellant was arrested.

Subsequently, a friend brought appellant to the hospital. Since being hospitalized, appellant has consistently taken an antipsychotic medication but declined to take a mood stabilizer recommended by her physician. Appellant also has told her physician "numerous times" that she has violent thoughts whenever she thinks of her husband and her neighbor and that she thinks about poking her husband and her neighbor's eyes out with chopsticks. And, when asked about "homicidal ideation," appellant mentioned her neighbor.

Additionally, while hospitalized, appellant "postured" at a nurse; it "seemed like she was going to strike" the nurse. As a result, appellant was placed in seclusion. While in seclusion, appellant was not "able to regulate her emotions enough" and "continued to yell and bang on the door enough that she required intramuscular emergent [313 Or.App. 681] medication to regulate her behavior." She also inappropriately touched another patient who had an "intellectual developmental delay," which required appellant to be moved to a different unit in the hospital.

During the commitment hearing in this case, a physician who had interacted with appellant since her hospitalization testified that appellant's "insight and judgment [were] impaired in terms of her ability to interpret what's going on in her environment," which "increases the risk of her acting out on her delusions." The physician noted that appellant, while hospitalized, consistently stated that she did not believe that she had a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, although the morning before the commitment hearing she said that she does agree she has bipolar disorder but disagreed with the treatment the physician proposed. The physician also testified that appellant had been, at times, unable to "create a coherent story as to what happened before she was in the hospital or events that have occurred *** in the hospital" and that, while in the hospital, appellant had been experiencing insomnia, reckless and thoughtless...

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