State v. S.R.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Commitment
  • Date Filed: 12-17-2014
  • Case #: A156167
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Lagasen, P.J. for the court; Hadlock, J.; & Wollheim, S.J.
  • Full Text Opinion

When petitioning for civil commitment as a result of mental illness, the state is not obligated to wait until a person is on the threshold of dying to petition for said commitment, but still needs to show that the person is so unable to care for their basic needs as a result of a mental disorder that they are “at risk of death in the near future.”

S.R. appealed an order of involuntary commitment contending that the trial court erred in determining that she was unable to care for her own basic needs. The state conceded that there was not sufficient evidence that S.R. was a danger to herself. The Court reiterated that the 'basic needs standard' is to be met in determining whether a person can be civilly committed, whereby a person does not retain adequate capacity to survive and is unable to obtain basic resources, like food and water, or services, like being able to call 911 if necessary. The state does not need to wait until a person is on the brink of death to act, but they do need sufficient evidence to show that, due to mental illness, a person is unable to provide for her basic needs to the degree that she is “at risk of death in the near future.” The Court concluded that the state was unable to show that S.R. would not survive the near future and therefore reversed the order. Reversed.

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