State v. S. R. J. (In re S. R. J.)

CourtCourt of Appeals of Oregon
Citation386 P.3d 99,281 Or.App. 741
Docket NumberA156553
Parties In the Matter of S. R. J., a Person Alleged to have a Mental Illness. State of Oregon, Respondent, v. S. R. J., Appellant.
Decision Date19 October 2016

281 Or.App. 741
386 P.3d 99

In the Matter of S. R. J., a Person Alleged to have a Mental Illness.

State of Oregon, Respondent,
S. R. J., Appellant.


Court of Appeals of Oregon.

Submitted April 14, 2015.
October 19, 2016

Garrett A. Richardson and Multnomah Defenders, Inc., filed the brief for appellant.

Ellen F. Rosenblum, Attorney General, Anna M. Joyce, Solicitor General, and Patrick M. Ebbett, Assistant Attorney General, filed the brief for respondent.

Before Duncan, Presiding Judge, and Lagesen, Judge, and Flynn, Judge.


281 Or.App. 743

Appellant seeks reversal of an order committing her involuntarily to the Oregon Health Authority for up to 180 days on the basis of a mental disorder that, the trial court determined, makes appellant dangerous to herself and others. See ORS 426.130(1)(a)(C), (2). Neither party has requested that we review this matter de novo , and we conclude that this is not an "exceptional" case that warrants de novo review. See ORAP 5.40(8)(C) (providing that the court will exercise its discretion to review de novo "only in exceptional cases"). Thus, " ‘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

386 P.3d 101

viewed, the record was legally sufficient to permit that outcome.’ " State v. M. A. , 276 Or.App. 624, 625, 371 P.3d 495 (2016) (quoting Dept. of Human Services v. N. P., 257 Or.App. 633, 639, 307 P.3d 444 (2013) ). Reviewing under that standard, we conclude that the record is legally insufficient to meet the rigorous threshold that our case law requires to justify an involuntary civil commitment. Accordingly, we reverse the order of commitment.1


Appellant was 54 years old at the time of the hearing. Dr. William Campbell, a psychiatrist, treated appellant during a five-day period in which she was hospitalized immediately prior to the hearing. He testified that she suffers from "Bipolar I disorder, possibly schizoaffective disorder, but most likely Bipolar I." Campbell reported that appellant has "significant delusions that are quite grandiose, religious in nature" and that "[s]he tends to be paranoid at times."

For example, Campbell testified, when appellant first arrived at the hospital, "she was claiming that she was God. Then she began to claim that she was Mary Magdalene," a biblical figure. He added that, after starting to take some medication, appellant "had periods where she still claim[ed]

281 Or.App. 744

that [she was] an agent of God here to wipe out zombie souls who are encased in pedophiles and other people who hurt children." The morning of the court hearing, appellant "said that her mission was to kill the rapists and pedophiles" and that "she felt God was placing her in the courtroom so she could kill all of the—those people."

Campbell also testified that, while in the hospital, appellant "had numerous episodes with the nursing staff and the mental health workers on the unit where she rushes at them, begins to scream at them, talking about killing them because they're evil; they have zombie souls." He emphasized that "[s]he has not actually hit anyone since coming into the unit—since coming into the emergency room. But she postures and becomes very threatening. It's hard to tell if she's not going to impulsively strike someone."

Appellant's delusions are not new. During an encounter with police four months before the hearing, appellant "began calling herself Mary Magdalene and stated that she was not of this earth and from the planet Jupiter," and, when asked a question, "regardless of what the question pertained to, her response was ‘baby's blood.’ " That encounter began when two officers responded to a call that appellant had been standing in the middle of a "very busy road" at a "very busy time of day" and "attempting to direct traffic." One of the officers testified that appellant was standing in the turn lane on the east side of the intersection and that traffic "was backed up in all directions" because "everyone at every corner of the intersection was stopped and watching" appellant. Appellant initially refused to comply with the request to step to the side of the road, responding that "she didn't have to because she was in the crosswalk." After eventually agreeing to come to the side of the road, appellant ran away from the officers and "again began walking in the middle of the lane of traffic." Appellant engaged in a "slight struggle" with, and "tried to run past," one of the officers. At that point, the officers stopped appellant and placed her in handcuffs. She became "very upset" and started "screaming within a matter of inches from" the face of one of the officers. The officers placed appellant in a patrol car and took her to the hospital. Appellant was given medication that allowed her

281 Or.App. 745

to "recompensate [ ] fairly well" and leave the hospital, but she did not continue taking her medication.

Appellant's most recent hospitalization also began with an incident involving traffic. The Bend Police Department received a report that she was "standing near an intersection" and "screaming and yelling at passing vehicles." When the testifying officer arrived,

386 P.3d 102

appellant was seated between a brick wall and the roadway at a "corner of a roundabout" and speaking with another officer. The other officer reported that appellant had been "snarling and barking" at him and told him her name was "Katniss Everdeen"—a character from a popular book and movie series. At that point, the officers decided that appellant "was a danger to herself or others" and decided to put her in handcuffs. She resisted by becoming "dead weight," and, when the officer pulled appellant's arm to put it in the handcuff, appellant "showed her teeth." One of the officers testified that while appellant waited for the officers to try to identify her, "[S]he sat and just kind of rocked back—or forward and back, and was repeating what essentially was, ‘Save the children. Jesus, help me save the children * * *.’ " When officers decided to take appellant to the hospital, she tried to resist being placed in the police car by bracing her foot against the doorjamb and kicking her feet.

After being transported to the emergency department of St. Charles Medical Center, appellant quietly talked in the hospital bed until a nurse asked for a urine sample. After appellant refused to provide a urine sample, the nurse began to insert a catheter, and appellant "crossed her ankles and basically locked her legs out and refused to comply in any way, shape, or form." Mayernik, one of the security officers, testified that "it took [two of them] basically prying her ankles apart to begin" the catheterization. When security officers started to handcuff appellant's hands to the bed so that she would be unable to resist the catheter, appellant attempted to bite, kick, and punch them.

Later, staff attempted to change appellant into scrub pants and a shirt before moving her to the hospital's psychiatric unit. Appellant resisted, so Mayernik again forcibly separated her ankles. In response, appellant again

281 Or.App. 746

attempted to punch and bite him and finally kicked him in the chest. Mayernik experienced some subsequent soreness and bruising from the kick. During transport to the psychiatric unit, appellant tried to use her legs to stop the staff from moving her gurney.

Apart from those encounters with law enforcement and hospital staff, the state presented testimony about a recent incident in which appellant entered a neighbor's home without being invited to do so, walked through the house and came out to a back deck where the neighbor was talking with some other people. Appellant introduced herself, the group moved back inside the house, and appellant left without saying anything more. The neighbor was acquainted enough with appellant to recognize her as a neighbor but had spoken to appellant only once before.

Campbell, the psychiatrist who treated appellant during the five days she spent in St. Charles prior to the hearing, testified that appellant was in seclusion "almost 24 hours a day" for the first two days "because of her attempts to push people around, move out of the room, [and] being quite frantic in talking, of course, very rapidly." Campbell testified that they "try to get patients out of seclusion as rapidly as possible because it can be frightening, of course." Yet appellant had to be placed back in seclusion shortly after her first release because "she was trying to intrude into other patients' rooms, becoming nondirectable" and being "threatening." Appellant was also placed in seclusion part of the night before the hearing because she was "becoming aggressive and confrontational." As examples of appellant's "aggressive and confrontational" behavior, Campbell explained that, the first day he saw appellant, she "started rushing around, actually was pushing on [him] trying to get [him] out of the way of...

To continue reading

Request your trial
30 cases
  • State v. T. W. W. (In re T. W. W.)
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • January 4, 2018 insufficient to sustain a finding that " 'actual future violence [by appellant] is highly likely.' " See State v. S. R. J. , 281 Or.App. 741, 749, 386 P.3d 99 (2016) (quoting M. A. , 276 Or.App. at 629, 371 P.3d 495 ).2 We also conclude that the record does not contain legally sufficient......
  • State v. M. J. F. (In re M. J. F.)
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • September 16, 2020
    ...demonstrate that the person's mental disorder has resulted in "harm" sufficient to constitute a danger to self. State v. S. R. J. , 281 Or. App. 741, 751, 386 P.3d 99 (2016) (recognizing that "we have often required evidence that the delusional behavior either led to past harm or to narrowl......
  • State v. T. W. (In re T. W.)
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • May 9, 2018
    ...disposition and assess whether, when so viewed, the record was legally sufficient to permit that outcome." State v. S. R. J. , 281 Or. App. 741, 743, 386 P.3d 99 (2016) (internal quotation marks omitted).1 Appellant was 49 years old at the time of the civil commitment hearing in September 2......
  • State v. T. M. (In re T. M.)
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Oregon
    • March 20, 2019
    ...sufficient to permit that outcome." State v. L. R. , 283 Or. App. 618, 619, 391 P.3d 880 (2017) ; see also State v. S. R. J. , 281 Or. App. 741, 748-49, 386 P.3d 99 (2016) ("Whether the evidence of danger is legally sufficient to support a determination that appellant is ‘dangerous’ for pur......
  • 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