State v. K.M.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Commitment
  • Date Filed: 11-19-2014
  • Case #: A151205
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Hadlock, J; & Tookey, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

It is not sufficient for a client to be informed by their attorney as to the possible outcomes of a hearing to determine mental illness and possible involuntary confinement. The trial judge must advise the alleged mentally ill person of their rights pursuant to ORS 426.100.

K.M. appealed a determination that she is mentally ill in accordance with ORS 426.005(1)(e), contending that the judge made a plain error in not advising her of her rights pursuant to ORS 426.100. The trial's transcript indicates the judge spoke to K.M. regarding the hearing but did not explicitly go through her rights set forth in ORS 426.100. The State argued that the error was harmless because it is demonstrable in the record that K.M. was counseled by her attorney. The Court held that, though it is referenced in the record that K.M. was advised of her rights, it is not known for sure that she was “completely advised” of her rights in her discussions with her attorney. While having legal representation will allow for the client to receive more in-depth counsel regarding the client's rights, the Court determined that “such representation is no substitute or excuse for the failure to give an item of advice at all.” The Court concluded that the judgment was made in plain error in failing to properly advise K.M. of her rights. Reversed.

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