State v. F. H.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Commitment
  • Date Filed: 06-08-2016
  • Case #: A156282
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Lagesen, J.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under State v. A.D.S., an involuntary civil commitment cannot be based on apprehensions, speculations, and conjecture that an appellant cannot care for his basic needs.

Petitioner appealed a trial court order committing him to the Oregon Health Authority for up to 180 days of treatment. Petitioner, a 66-year-old man with a history of bipolar disorder, was found at the Portland Airport in a “disheveled” state. A mental health professional found Petitioner to be confused and unable to remember information, and called officers to take Petitioner to the hospital. At trial, the court found that Petitioner was eligible for involuntary civil commitment under ORS 426.130(a)(a)(C) because the state provided clear and convincing evidence that Petitioner was unable to provide for his basic needs (i.e. food and shelter) due to a mental disorder. On appeal, Petitioner argued that the record was legally insufficient to support the determination that he was unable to obtain basic needs. The Court noted that under State v. A. D. S., an involuntary commitment cannot be based on apprehensions, speculations, and conjecture that an appellant cannot care for his basic needs. 258 Or App 44, 48 (2013). Since there was no evidence in the record that Petitioner’s chronic confusion and memory problems had previously prevented him from obtaining food and shelter, the Court found that the trial court’s holding that Petitioner was unable to obtain basic needs was based on mere speculation. The Court ultimately held that such speculation was insufficient to establish a need for involuntary civil commitment. Reversed.

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