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State of Oregon v. M.J.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 09-21-2011
Case #: A145031
Haselton, P.J., for the Court; Armstrong, J.; & Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A145031.pdf

Civil Commitment: Homelessness and delusionally-driven dietary habits that occur when the person is willing to eat and able to obtain food, are not sufficient grounds for a basic needs commitment.

M.J. is a person alleged to be mentally ill. The trial court determined that M.J. could not provide for his basic needs because he did not have an immediate place to go if released and he would eat only chicken thighs and distilled water. M.J. appealed from a judgment of involuntary civil commitment arguing that the state did not prove by clear and convincing evidence that he was unable to provide for his basic needs. The Court of Appeals stated that in order to commit a person, the state must establish that that the person’s mental disorder creates an imminent and serious threat to the person. The fact that M.J. did not have an immediate place to go and that he was not making wise food choices was insufficient to support the determination that M.J. was unable to meet his basic needs. Reversed.