Willamette Law Online

Oregon Court of Appeals


ListPreviousNext


State v. L.D.

Summarized by: 

Date Filed: 12-29-2011
Case #: A143899
Haselton, P.J. for the Court; Armstrong, J.; & Duncan, J.
Full Text Opinion: http://www.publications.ojd.state.or.us/A143899.pdf

Civil Commitment: To commit a person involuntarily the state must show the person’s mental disorder causes them to behave in a manner that is likely to result in actual serious physical harm to them in the near future.

The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order committing appellant. Appellant is bipolar and has been committed for treatment five previous times. Police took appellant to an emergency room due to his statements that he wanted police to shoot him. Four months later appellant pushed his son, though the son did not report that incident. 6 weeks later appellant drove five miles per hour toward a football game in order to obstruct traffic. Appellant was also arrested for trespass. Appellant’s psychiatrist did not find him to be suicidal, but found he was a danger to himself because his behavior presented a risk that someone may retaliate against him. For civil commitment purposes, the state must prove by clear and convincing evidence that a person is a danger to himself or others, and that danger must be such that the person behaves in a manner that is likely to result in actual serious physical harm to them in the near future. The Court found that evidence here showed that appellant may likely face retaliation, but it would be far from serious. Appellant’s behavior was obnoxious, but actions such as obstructing traffic present a mere inconvenience and not conduct that will physically harm others. Furthermore, such conduct must be such that harm is likely to result in the near future. Here, the appellant's initial encounter with police was six months old. The Court held that the trial court's conclusion was legally insufficient to commit appellant involuntarily. Reversed.