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In re Civil Commitment of W.S.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

December 16, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE CIVIL COMMITMENT OF W.S., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
ESKENAZI HEALTH, MIDTOWN COMMUNITY MENTAL HEALTH, Appellee-Petitioner

Page 30

APPEAL FROM THE MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Gerald S. Zore, Judge. Cause No. 49F03-9404-MH-232.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DEBORAH MARKISOHN, Marion County Public Defender, Appellate Division, Indianapolis, Indiana.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEES: JARRELL B. HAMMOND, Lewis Wagner, LLP, Indianapolis, Indiana.

CRONE, Judge. RILEY, J., and MATHIAS, J., concur.

Page 31

OPINION

CRONE, Judge

Case Summary

W.S. appeals the trial court's order on review of his regular mental health commitment. W.S. has been involuntarily committed to Eskenazi Health, Midtown Community Mental Health (" Midtown" ) pursuant to a regular commitment since March 2009. Following a hearing upon W.S.'s petition for review, the trial court determined that W.S. is mentally ill and gravely disabled and should remain under a regular commitment at Midtown for a period of time expected to exceed ninety days. The court's order provided, as a condition of the regular commitment, that W.S. take all medication as prescribed. W.S. argues that the trial court's order is not supported by clear and convincing evidence. Finding clear and convincing evidence that W.S. is mentally ill and gravely disabled but that the trial court should hear additional evidence regarding the portion of the order regarding medication, we affirm and remand for further hearing.

Facts and Procedural History

Forty-three-year-old W.S. suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. W.S.'s involvement with the civil commitment process began as early as 1994 when an application for emergency detention was filed and resulted in him being temporarily committed. That temporary commitment expired in August 1994, and it appears that W.S. was not subject to any commitment for the next four years. However, in April 1998, W.S. was placed on regular commitment for a period of four years until the commitment was terminated in September 2002. Thereafter, in May 2008, an application for emergency detention was filed, but the subsequent petition for W.S.'s involuntary commitment was denied by the trial court. In September 2008, another application for emergency detention was filed, and again

Page 32

the subsequent petition for W.S.'s involuntary commitment was denied by the trial court.

Applications for emergency detention were filed in January and February 2009, and a petition for involuntary commitment was filed on March 2, 2009. Following a hearing, W.S. was ordered involuntarily committed under a regular commitment to Midtown. From February 2010 to December 2013, the trial court periodically reviewed the facts supporting W.S.'s regular commitment based upon written reports and evidence heard during review hearings and each time ordered that his commitment be continued. Pursuant to his regular commitment, W.S. lives independently but must attend scheduled appointments at Midtown and receive monthly medication injections.

On February 12, 2014, W.S. filed a petition for review of his regular commitment. A review hearing was held on March 25, 2014. During the hearing, Midtown medical director and chief of psychiatrist services, Dr. Jeffrey Kellams, testified that W.S. has been a patient of Midtown going on thirty years. Dr. Kellams stated that W.S. was first diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in the " early 1980s" and Dr. Kellams has been actively involved in his treatment over the last three or four years. Tr. at 6. Based upon a recent medical examination of W.S., Dr. Kellams concluded the following:

[W.S.] suffers a chronic psychotic illness, paranoid schizophrenia, which has been present for at least three decades, if not longer. It has resulted in his having very poor insight, poor judgment. With medication, he actually does reasonably well. Without medication, he goes into a state of denial, feeling that he does not need to see the psychiatrist, does not need to seek medication; becomes delusional, paranoid, and on multiple occasions has come to the attention of the public or police because of deviant behavior .... [T]he reality of it is if we do not continue the commitment, he very likely will quit coming for appointments. He does not see that he needs ongoing care, and the subsequent ...

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