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11/10/88 In Re Jeffrey W. Orr

November 10, 1988



Involuntary Admission (The People of the State of

Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee, v.

Jeffery W. Orr, Respondent-Appellant)

531 N.E.2d 64, 176 Ill. App. 3d 498, 125 Ill. Dec. 885 1988.IL.1636

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Macon County; the Hon. Scott B. Diamond, Judge, presiding.


JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN, P.J., and LUND, J., concur.


Following a hearing, the circuit court of Macon County found respondent was a person subject to involuntary admission because of his mental illness, and the reasonable expectation his illness would cause him to seriously harm himself or another in the near future. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-119(1).) The court ordered respondent be involuntarily admitted to a mental health facility pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Mental Health Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 3-700 through 3-819) and authorized the State to administer medication. Respondent appeals the order to involuntarily admit and medicate him.

On October 20, 1987, two Champaign police officers filed petitions alleging the respondent Jeffery W. Orr (Jeff) was a person subject to involuntary admission. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 3-601, 3-606.) The petition was accompanied by the necessary physicians' certificates affirming the fact Jeff was mentally ill and because of his illness was reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon himself or another in the near future. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 3-602, 3-702.

A hearing on the petition was held on October 27, 1988. One of the petitioning officers testified as follows. On October 18, 1987, Officers Wagner and Stevens were dispatched to Bradley's, a Champaign night spot, to investigate the second half of a disturbance complaint. Jeff had earlier complained to another officer that his car was damaged during an altercation in the Bradley's parking lot. Officer Wagner was allowed to testify as to what the Bradley's employees who witnessed the incident told him had transpired that evening. Defense counsel made a continuing hearsay objection.

According to the witnesses, Jeff parked his vehicle in an employee parking area in the Bradley's lot. When a Bradley's security person asked Jeff to move the vehicle, Jeff became belligerent and refused. The security officers explained it was "teen night" at Bradley's and as a result only teenagers were allowed into the establishment. Jeff, who was 33 years old at the time, was told he would not be admitted and was asked to leave. Jeff entered the building and asked to speak with the manager. After the manager talked to Jeff, the latter said he would leave the area voluntarily.

The employees acting as security guards in the lot told the officers they had to jump out of the way of Jeff's automobile as he proceeded to recklessly maneuver it out of the lot at a high rate of speed. One employee was almost struck while another kicked out the rear passenger window in an attempt to get out of Jeff's way. Jeff then flagged down an officer and reported the damage to his car.

The officers interviewed Jeff when he returned to the scene at Bradley's. Jeff said the employees were ganging up on him and he was not being treated fairly. The officer perceived Jeff as very argumentative and belligerent. His story did not jibe with those told by the other witnesses at the scene. Officer Wagner said: "Jeff's demeanor was cooperative at first and then . . . he became more and more agitated. He got very verbal, very vocal, very argumentative and at that point, we decided to take him into custody, based upon the witness's [ sic ] accounts." Jeff did not threaten anyone while in the officer's presence.

Over defense counsel's objection, Wagner was asked to give his opinion if Jeff was mentally ill, posed a physical threat to himself and others and was in need of immediate admission to prevent such harm. Wagner's response was affirmative. When asked what made Jeff's conduct different from any other disorderly conduct, Wagner told the court it was Jeff's argumentative nature, incoherent thought pattern, and the manner in which he drove the vehicle at the two employees. The court asked: "Did you observe any of his driving or is all your testimony is based on what someone told you?" Wilson replied: "All of my testimony is based on other witnesses."

Dr. Morton Tabin, a psychiatrist at Adolf Meyer Mental Health and Development Center (Meyer), testified Jeff had been a patient at Meyer for about one week. The doctor diagnosed Jeff as suffering from mental illness with a schizoaffective disorder and a problem with impulse control. Jeff had refused to take medications. The doctor indicated Jeff had been hospitalized multiple times for bizarre or aggressive behavior. In Tabin's opinion, Jeff's prognosis depended on his cooperation with counseling and his acceptance of medication.

From the records and communications with staff, the doctor testified he was aware Jeff had to be restrained on one occasion when he was first admitted to Meyer. It was recorded that Jeff had injured staff members during that altercation. Dr. Tabin has not seen any violent physical activity from Jeff since he was moved to Dr. Tabin's unit. Dr. Tabin said: "We have seen a lot of pestiness and unable [ sic ] to control temper in the sence [ sic ] of asking the same things over and over again . . . but I haven't seen any physical acting out since he came in."

Dr. Tabin opined Jeff was mentally ill and was capable of harming himself or someone else in the near future. Tabin said: "My Conclusion of him harming someone would be gleemed [ sic ] from my perusal of the petition." The doctor recommended Jeff be committed to Meyer and asked the court for authority to force medicines on him. On cross-examination, Tabin said his opinion was based on Jeff's activity both while at Meyer and in the Bradley's parking lot.

Jeff testified on his own behalf as to the incident at Bradley's. Jeff said three males sitting on a pickup truck told him he was improperly parked in an employee space. The space was not marked and the trio did not identify themselves. The three followed Jeff inside the building and, after he was told to leave, they escorted him to his car. Jeff said he had to back out carefully to avoid hitting a nearby parked car. Jeff felt he was being pursued, so he drove forward quickly. One of the men got out of the way and stood next to the nearby vehicle, leaving Jeff just enough room to get by. At that point, one of the men kicked out one of Jeff's car windows. Jeff said he had no intention of harming or threatening anyone in the lot with his vehicle, but was merely trying to leave the scene. He made no oral threats to anyone. Jeff denied being mentally ill or dangerous and said: "I hope I am not abrasive to anyone to cause any conflicts here or anywhere else."

At a later hearing the same day, the court and counsel discussed the implications of the alleged hearsay testimony of Officer Wagner. The State conceded the testimony was hearsay, but argued nonetheless the testimony of Dr. Tabin about Jeff's unruly behavior while at Meyer was sufficient evidence to meet the clear and convincing standard to commit him. The State found the officer's direct observation of Jeff after the Bradley's incident and at the hospital was also significant. The ...

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