State v. S.J.R.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Commitment
  • Date Filed: 10-19-2016
  • Case #: A156553
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Flynn, J. for the Court; Duncan, P.J.; & Lagesen, J., dissenting.
  • Full Text Opinion

Under ORS 426.130, to establish that a person is a danger to herself the State must show there is a particularized and highly probable threat to the person’s safe survival, including a risk of substantial harm, in the near future. Similarly, to establish that a person is a danger to others the State must show that future violence is highly likely.

S.J.R. sought reversal of a court order that involuntarily committed her to the Oregon Health Authority for up to 180 days on the basis that she suffered from a mental illness that made her a danger to herself or others. On appeal, S.J.R. does not argue that the State proved she had a mental illness, rather, she argues that the evidence was insufficient to establish that she was a danger to herself or others. Under ORS 426.130, the type of “danger” necessary to justify an involuntary civil commitment is a narrow range of serious and highly probable threat of harm. In order to present a danger to one’s self, the state must show a particularized and highly probable threat to the person’s safe survival, including a risk of substantial harm, in the near future. Similarly, to permit commitment on the basis that a person is dangerous to others, the state must establish that actual future violence is highly likely. Here the Court found that the evidence was legally insufficient to show, by clear and convincing evidence, that S.J.R. presented a danger to herself or others. Reversed.

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