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In Re Tuntland

OPINION FILED APRIL 12, 1979.

IN RE DAVID P. TUNTLAND. — (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

DAVID P. TUNTLAND, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARCHIBALD LeCESNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE JOHNSON DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This is an appeal by respondent, David P. Tuntland, from an order of the circuit court of Cook County finding him to be a person in need of mental treatment as defined in the Mental Health Code of 1967 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-11) and ordering his immediate hospitalization. On appeal, respondent contends his commitment for mental treatment following a proceeding in which he was unassisted by counsel was fatally defective. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 91 1/2, par. 9-4.

A petition for respondent's hospitalization was filed in the circuit court of Cook County on November 21, 1977, by Martell Tuntland, respondent's father, alleging that respondent was in need of mental treatment as defined in section 1-11 of the Mental Health Code, and that respondent was likely to physically harm himself or others if not immediately hospitalized. On that date, the trial court entered a written order setting the petition for hearing and ordering that the public defender act as counsel for the patient at the hearing.

At the commencement of the hearing on the petition held on November 24, 1977, the following proceedings took place:

"THE CLERK: David Tuntland, 77 CONMT 3553.

(witnesses duly sworn)

THE COURT: Ready to proceed?

MR. DILLON [Assistant State's Attorney]: The State is ready.

MR. ALLEN [Assistant Public Defender]: At this time I'd like to call the Court's attention to the fact that the Respondent wishes to represent himself and has made that quite clear to me, your Honor.

THE COURT: Did you explain to him —

THE DEFENDANT: I've had bad luck with other lawyers representing me.

THE COURT: You have a right to represent yourself, but notwithstanding that, the Court has the obligation and will exercise the obligation to appoint the public defender to guide you. He's only going to tell you what in his judgment you ought to do relative to objections and other matters of procedure. Do you understand that?

THE DEFENDANT: Yes.

THE COURT: If you don't choose to ask him any questions, that's up to you, but the Court will appoint the public defender to act as a guide to you on matters relative to court procedure, and of course if he sees fit anything should be radically wrong, he may make an objection."

Phyllis Ann Tuntland, respondent's mother, testified that respondent resided with her in Joliet from September 23, 1977, until November 18, 1977, when he went to Tinley Park hospital. When his car would not start, he thought somebody had "bugged" it and was trying to keep him from going about his business. He said there was a homing device in his car, in his glasses and in his room whereby people, whom he believed to be Germans, could follow him. During cross-examination conducted by respondent, she was asked why she thought he was dangerous and she responded:

"The idea that you feel that Hitler is still alive and you have to apprehend him and take him before the F.B.I. to clear you name; that you feel that people are getting in your way; asking us to take lie detector tests for non-essential things, — these bizarre ideas that you have."

On redirect examination, she testified respondent had told her and her husband on Sunday night that he had obtained a gun permit so that he could go to Las Vegas to apprehend an individual that he thought was Adolph Hitler, who he believed was still alive. She had many conversations with respondent about Hitler over the past 5 or 6 years and respondent "was ...


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