from the St. Joseph Superior Court The Honorable David C.
Chapleau, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 71D05-1103-MH-57
Attorney for Appellant Ernest P. Galos South Bend, Indiana.
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Kyle Hunter Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis,
P.B. appeals her involuntary commitment to Evansville State
Hospital ("the Hospital"). We reverse.
The sole issue before us is whether there is sufficient
evidence to support the trial court's commitment order.
P.B. has been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and
post-traumatic stress disorder. In Indiana, P.B. has been in
and out of involuntary commitments to mental hospitals since
March 2011. She also has previously been hospitalized in
Virginia and California. She attempted suicide on several
occasions, the last time being in 2014.
P.B.'s most recent hospitalization began on December 5,
2016, when she was involuntarily committed to a hospital in
South Bend. Prior to this commitment, her treating
psychiatrist stated that P.B. was suffering "from
symptoms of paranoia, delusions, and mood lability."
App. Vol. II p. 41. She also had a recent history of
threatening other residents of her apartment complex and
being disruptive. She believed that her family and neighbors
were breaking into her apartment at night and beating her up,
and she was calling police two to three times a day making
delusional claims about intruders. Generally, P.B. believed
that her mother was conspiring against her, to harm her and
she was extremely paranoid. P.B. had been "poorly
compliant" with outpatient treatment to address her
paranoia and regularly refused to take antipsychotic
medication, believing it was poisonous. Id.
On February 13, 2017, P.B. was transferred to the Hospital, a
State facility. On February 14, 2017, the trial court entered
an order continuing P.B.'s regular commitment without
hearing. On May 2, 2017, P.B. filed a request for review and
dismissal of her commitment.
The trial court held a hearing on the matter on May 18, 2017.
Dr. Boris Vatel, a psychiatrist at the Hospital, testified in
favor of continuing P.B.'s commitment. He stated that
P.B. had made "some progress" during her
hospitalization but "I don't think that she has
sufficiently improved in order to be able to manage herself
independently in the community." Tr. p. 6. He further
The main concerns that we have about why she requires a
longer hospitalization is not that she is suicidal. I do not
believe she is dangerous to herself. I also do not believe
that she is physically dangerous to other people. I do
believe there is a question of grave disability that has to
do with her emotional functioning and with her ability to
function around other people, and also to ...