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April 26, 1994


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 93-MH-226. Honorable Richard J. Larson, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication May 27, 1994.

Doyle, Inglis, Bowman

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Doyle

JUSTICE DOYLE delivered the opinion of the court:

Following a bench trial in the circuit court of Kane County, respondent, Marilynn Schumaker, was found to be a person subject to involuntary admission (405 ILCS 5/3-700, 3-811, 3-812 (West 1992)) and ordered hospitalized with the Department of Mental Health. Respondent brought a timely appeal from the judgment of the circuit court raising three issues: (1) whether the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that she was reasonably to be expected to inflict serious physical harm upon herself or another in the near future; (2) whether the State failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that she was unable to provide for her basic physical needs so as to guard herself from serious harm; and (3) whether the trial court's order for involuntary admission was the least restrictive treatment alternative.

The following testimony was adduced at trial. Ludovice Barber, a social worker with the Kilbourne Unit at Elgin Mental Health Center (Kilbourne), related a conversation she had with respondent on the morning of June 23, 1993. At the time, respondent was confined at Kilbourne. Respondent told Barber that she wanted to go to court and be discharged. According to Barber, respondent claimed someone was trying to murder her husband and herself, and respondent also said "that if she wasn't * * * discharged within five days that she would try and kill someone." Barber described respondent's demeanor as very angry, loud, and somewhat hostile. Barber admitted that respondent never threatened her personally, nor did she ever threaten to kill anyone in particular. When asked if Barber believed respondent, Barber said, "I had no reason to doubt her."

Dr. Garth D. Smith, a psychiatrist, was examined as an expert witness without objection. Smith testified that he conducted a psychiatric examination of respondent on June 23, 1993. This exam consisted of an interview with respondent, contact with the staff at Kilbourne, and a review of respondent's chart. Based upon this information, Smith diagnosed respondent as having a long history of bipolar affective disorder with many hospitalizations. He testified that she continued to show signs of that illness even though it was currently in a "mild form." Smith stated that bipolar affective disorder was a mental illness characterized by (1) periods of either depression, during which time the patient is very unhappy, cannot enjoy anything, and has trouble sleeping and functioning as a result thereof; and (2) periods of mania, during which there is no unhappiness at all, the patient feels great, has thoughts that are free and flowing, can do anything, and tends to be quite uninhibited. Smith stated that persons suffering from this mental illness "are quite irritable and frustrated and can be quite angry and sometimes destructive."

When asked about the specific symptoms of respondent, Smith stated, "She shows a mild form of manic behavior with an elevated mood." Respondent told Smith that she used to have a manic-depressive illness, but she outgrew it and did not believe she had it any longer. Smith stated that this perception was fairly characteristic of respondent's illness. Smith further testified:

"When problems occur or frustrations or difficulties occur, she very promptly attributes them to somebody else.

She tends to have paranoid thinking, blaming other people for doing bad things to her.

It's different from a schizophrenic or delusional disorder because she's not terrible [sic] disturbed or persistent in these paranoid thoughts but if she's unhappy, it's somebody else's fault and she tends to pass it off and be almost casual about it."

Smith testified that, in his opinion, "because of her mental illness and because of the features of her illness, [respondent's] judgment is quite impaired." He added that she was in need of hospitalization because only the structure and control provided by such a facility would "keep her from exercising bad judgment detrimental to herself or other people." Concerning respondent's impaired judgment, Smith stated that while she would be able to buy food and knew how to prepare it, she would not be able to obtain a job and maintain support for herself. Smith also opined that her ability to manage money was questionable. Smith stated that with appropriate treatment respondent's condition and thinking would be improved in 30 days.

Respondent testified that on April 1, 1993, she was "kidnapped" by her psychiatrist and another woman and brought to Kilbourne. She admitted having claimed that her former husband was trying to murder her, but she stated that she meant it "figuratively" because she felt that her former husband had precipitated her confinement. Respondent also admitted saying she would kill someone if she was not released in five days, but she stated that she made the comment after being provoked by the staff at Kilbourne. Respondent testified that she also told Barber she was joking and would not murder anyone. Respondent admitted to placing several prank calls to police while she was at Kilbourne, stating that she wanted them to come, arrest her, and remove her from the facility. Respondent testified that she had previously refused to take her medication because it had made her sick.

The trial court found that there was clear, convincing, and uncontradicted evidence demonstrating that respondent suffered from a mild form of the mental illness, bipolar affective disorder. The court further found "that the evidence is clear and convincing that as aresult of mental illness, the Respondent is a person ...

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