In the Matter of the Commitment of C.N. C.N. Appellant/Respondent,
Eskenazi Health/Midtown CMHC, Appellee/Petitioner.
from the Marion Superior Court No. 49D08-1802-MH-6841. The
Honorable Kelly Scanlan, Commissioner The Honorable Steven R.
Attorneys for Appellant Megan Shipley Valerie K. Boots Marion
County Public Defender Agency Indianapolis, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Bryan H. Babb Sarah T. Parks Anna
Kirkman Bose McKinney & Evans LLP Indianapolis, Indiana
of the Case
C.N. ("C.N.") appeals the trial court's order
for his involuntary regular civil commitment. He argues that:
(1) the trial court's order was defective because it
contained only the commissioner's signature and lacked
the required judge's signature; (2) there was
insufficient evidence to prove that he was "gravely
disabled;" (3) there was insufficient evidence to
support the trial court's forced medication order; and
(4) there was insufficient evidence that he needed to be
committed for longer than ninety days. Because we conclude
that there was insufficient evidence to prove that C.N. was
"gravely disabled," we reverse the trial
court's decision and remand for the trial court to vacate
the order of regular commitment.
We reverse and remand with instructions.
there was sufficient evidence to support the trial
court's regular commitment of C.N.
In February 2018, Eskenazi Health/Midtown Community Mental
Health ("Eskenazi") filed an application for the
emergency detention of C.N. The physician completing the
application alleged that C.N. was gravely disabled and a
danger to himself because he had "an established history
of Bipolar Disorder with Psychotic features, [was] not in
treatment, ha[d] grandiose delusions of being a special
agent, and ha[d] entered [a] secure government area recently
under false pretenses." (App. Vol. 2 at 12). Based on
this application, the trial court issued an order authorizing
the emergency detention of C.N.
Following C.N.'s detention, Eskenazi filed a report that
included a physician's statement from Dr. Aimee Patel
("Dr. Patel"). In this statement, Dr. Patel alleged
that C.N. needed to be committed to an appropriate facility
because he was gravely disabled. Specifically, Dr. Patel
alleged that C.N. was unable to provide for his food,
clothing, shelter, or other essential human needs and had a
substantial impairment that resulted in his inability to
function independently. Dr. Patel also alleged that C.N. had
"lost housing and employment due to symptoms."
(App. Vol. 2 at 23).
At C.N.'s commitment hearing, Dr. Patel testified that
she had examined C.N., and that although he had
"historically carried a diagnosis of bi-polar
disorder," Dr. Patel had "adjusted" his
diagnosis to schizoaffective disorder. (Tr. 8). Dr. Patel
further testified that C.N. was gravely disabled as
demonstrated by his recent eviction from his housing. Dr.
Patel also testified that C.N. was employed and that he was
eating and taking care of his hygiene needs while at
Eskenazi. In addition, Dr. Patel testified that C.N. was
"convinced that he [was] a police officer, that he
work[ed] for the FBI. That he ha[d] had involvement with the
DEA." (Tr. 12). She also testified that C.N. had
recently had weapons and a gas mask confiscated from his
apartment. Dr. Patel recommended that C.N. be detained
pursuant to a regular rather than a temporary commitment
order. She also recommended that he be transferred to
outpatient care when his condition stabilized and that he be
ordered to take all medications as prescribed at that time.
During cross-examination, Dr. Patel acknowledged that
following his eviction, C.N. had moved in with his
Also at the hearing, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police
Department Behavioral Health Detective Lance Dardeen
("Detective Dardeen") testified that he had visited
C.N. at home in December 2017. Although Detective Dardeen had
not observed any weapons during the visit, the detective knew
that a plastic hybrid BB gun had been removed from C.N.'s
home earlier in December. During the twenty-minute visit,
Detective Dardeen believed that C.N. had shown signs of
mental illness such as disorganized thoughts and delusions.
The detective opined that C.N.'s delusions would make him
dangerous to the public. Detective Dardeen ...