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In Re Spain





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CORNELIUS J. COLLINS, Judge, presiding.


A petition for hospitalization was filed against respondent John Spain, age 19, asserting that he was in need of mental treatment. After a hearing, the trial court found respondent to be in need of mental treatment and ordered that he be hospitalized by the Department of Mental Health. On appeal, respondent raises two issues: (1) that the trial court erred in not appointing a guardian ad litem for respondent prior to his hearing, and (2) that respondent was not found to be in need of mental treatment by clear and convincing evidence.

We affirm the trial court's order.

At the hearing, the following evidence was adduced: Respondent age 19, was called as a witness under section 60 of the Civil Practice Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110, par. 60). He testified that he had lived with his father until voluntarily entering the Madden Mental Health Center because he had been hearing voices. He had entered Madden at the urging of his mother. Respondent stated that he gets along well with his father, except for occasional arguments. The last argument occurred when both of his parents visited him a few days after he had signed himself into Madden.

Respondent's mother, Irene Spain, testified that her decision to sign the petition to have her son hospitalized was based upon events surrounding a conference at Madden in which respondent, both parents, and several staff members participated. As Mrs. Spain was signing the petition, respondent became angry and told her, "I'll see you in your grave." After this incident, a doctor examined respondent and told Mrs. Spain that respondent needed to remain in the hospital.

On cross-examination, Mrs. Spain testified that she had a telephone conversation with respondent on the day he entered Madden. Respondent stated to her that he was tired, hadn't slept in three days, and had taken a lot of pills. She knew that respondent took pills since she had personally observed him doing so.

Respondent's father, John Spain, Sr., testified that three months earlier he had respondent arrested after respondent had violently grabbed him during an argument over the refusal of the witness to lend respondent his car. Respondent had been arrested for numerous traffic violations and, at the time of the argument, did not have a valid driver's license. Respondent later threatened to beat Mr. Spain if he interfered with respondent. On another occasion, respondent had kicked his sister in the legs during an argument over the use of a chair.

Respondent admitted to Mr. Spain that he used marijuana and took pills. On one occasion approximately one year earlier, respondent took a large amount of drugs which Mr. Spain feared was an overdose. Respondent had complained of hearing voices, but medication apparently controls the problem.

Dr. Hector Munoz, a staff psychiatrist at Madden, testified that he examined respondent and diagnosed respondent to be suffering from "schizophrenia paranoid type." He recommended respondent's hospitalization. It was Dr. Munoz's opinion that respondent was a potentially dangerous person, and if he did not receive further treatment it could reasonably be expected that he might intentionally or unintentionally harm others, and that the possibility of this occurring was more likely than not. This conclusion was based upon respondent's oftentimes irrelevant answers to questions, the auditory hallucinations and the upset resulting from these hallucinations, his anger at his parents, and his rationalizations which were illogical.

Robert Howell, a rehabilitation counselor, testified that after respondent had voluntarily entered Madden, he admitted to hearing voices and believed that someone had planted a transmitter in his head. Despite this, Howell and the doctor in charge decided not to seek judicial proceedings. At a conference held with respondent and his parents to discuss discharge plans, respondent became very upset and angry with his parents. He denied that he needed help and misconstrued the meaning of various statements made by those at the conference. He again stated his concern over the implantation of the transmitter in his brain.

At this point, Howell began to have doubts about the decision to release respondent. Respondent became disruptive and hostile and his tone of voice became angry. Howell then asked his parents to sign the petition. As respondent's mother began to sign the petition, respondent grabbed her and pinched her arm and stated, "I'll see you in your grave."

After the close of the State's case, respondent, acting against the advice of his counsel, chose to make a statement to the court. Respondent admitted that he heard voices and that the last time had been shortly before entering Madden.

Upon the conclusion of all the evidence, the trial court entered a finding that respondent was in need of mental treatment and ordered hospitalization.

Respondent first contends that a guardian ad litem should have been appointed for him prior to the hearing because of his age and the nature of the action against him. The State, however, aptly points out that respondent was not a minor at the time of the hearing, and further that the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. ...

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