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June 28, 1996


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 95--MH--261. Honorable James C. Hallock, Judge, Presiding.

Released for Publication July 31, 1996.

The Honorable Justice Bowman delivered the opinion of the court: Inglis and Thomas, JJ., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bowman

The Honorable Justice BOWMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

Respondent, Stanley Rovelstad, Jr., appeals two orders entered by the trial court pursuant to the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/1--100 et seq. (West 1994)). The first, entered on July 28, 1995, ordered him admitted involuntarily to St. Joseph's Hospital (St. Joseph's) for 30 days on the basis that he was mentally ill and unable to provide for his basic physical needs so as to guard himself from serious harm. See 405 ILCS 5/1--119(2) (West 1994). The second, entered on August 25, 1995, ordered the extension of his hospitalization for an additional 30 days. See 405 ILCS 5/3--813 (West 1994). Respondent filed separate timely notices of appeal and this court consolidated the two cases.


The following summary of the relevant facts is taken from the record on appeal. On July 19, 1995, respondent's father, Stanley Rovelstad, Sr. (Stanley, Sr.), filed a petition to involuntarily admit respondent pursuant to article VI of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3--600 et seq. (West 1994)). The petition stated that respondent had a history of schizophrenia and was delusional, paranoid, expressing morbid thoughts, and behaving abnormally.

Attached to the petition was a certificate executed by an emergency room physician pursuant to section 3--602 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3--602 (West 1994)). The certificate stated that respondent was in need of hospitalization based on his history of schizophrenia, poor hygiene, and refusal to answer questions. The certificate also stated that respondent "could be hallucinating and thus dangerous."

A hearing on the petition took place on July 28, 1995. Immediately prior to the start of the hearing, respondent's counsel stated, in response to questions by the trial court, that there was no issue as to the validity of service, the timeliness of the hearing, or compliance with section 3--602.

At the hearing, Stanley, Sr., testified first. He stated that respondent lived with him until mid-July 1995, when respondent began behaving abnormally. According to Stanley, Sr., respondent "decided that he didn't need anyone anymore." Stanley, Sr., believed that this "sounded sort of ominous" and felt that "something could happen" as a result. On July 18, 1995, respondent told Stanley, Sr., that voices told him to go to the mall and play the banjo. Stanley, Sr., testified that respondent is a religious person, although he does not practice an established religion. Respondent also uses mineral oil, which he considers blessed, to mark doorways, steps, bedclothes, and furniture for protection. On cross-examination, Stanley, Sr., conceded that the amount of mineral oil respondent placed around the house only amounted to about a cupful and that it did not harm anything.

Dr. Conchita Gavinon, a psychiatrist, also testified. She stated that she performed a psychiatric examination of respondent after his admission to St. Joseph's, but did not state when this examination occurred. The examination consisted of reviewing medical records and speaking to respondent and members of his family. After performing this examination, Dr. Gavinon diagnosed respondent as suffering from schizophrenic disorder, undifferentiated type, which is considered a mental illness. She explained that the symptoms of this illness include auditory and/or visual hallucinations, delusions, inability to talk in a codirective manner, and a blunted or inappropriate affect.

Dr. Gavinon further stated that respondent is suspicious and hears voices. She stated that during one conversation he said that he was sent to the hospital by his father and other members of his family so they could deprive him of his inheritance. He also told Dr. Gavinon he did not need to be in the hospital and that he did not believe in doctors, dentists, or medications. During another conversation, respondent accused Dr. Gavinon of being against him and of working with Stanley, Sr.

Dr. Gavinon opined that respondent was mentally ill and that, because of this illness, he was unable to provide for his basic physical needs so as to guard himself from serious harm. She based this opinion on his refusal to shower, bathe, or change his clothes while he was at St. Joseph's, his tendency to isolate himself in his room, and his refusal to take medication. She further opined that, in his current condition, he could not maintain employment because he has "distorted beliefs about different things." She also stated that in an unstructured environment respondent would not be able to take care of his basic living functions.

Finally, Dr. Gavinon stated that St. Joseph's was the least restrictive environment available for respondent and that a treatment plan had been developed for him. The goal of the treatment plan was to stabilize respondent's condition by reducing his hallucinations, thus helping him to have a more realistic view of things. Dr. Gavinon stated that, with medication, respondent could achieve this goal in one to two weeks.

On cross-examination, Dr. Gavinon admitted that, although she considered respondent's reluctance to talk to her evidence of irrational suspicion, he had no legal obligation to speak to her. She also conceded that she did not know what effect his commitment would have on his property rights. She also conceded that he might be able to find shelter on his own.

After hearing the above evidence, the trial court found that respondent was mentally ill and that, as a result of his illness, he was unable to provide for his basic physical needs so as to guard himself from serious harm. See 405 ILCS 5/1--119(2) (West 1994). In so finding, the trial court highlighted Dr. Gavinon's testimony that respondent had refused to bathe or change his clothes for several days while at St. Joseph's. The trial court also found that St. Joseph's was the least restrictive environment in which to place respondent. Accordingly, the trial court ordered respondent hospitalized for a period not to exceed 30 days.

On August 8, 1995, St. Joseph's filed a petition to transfer respondent to the Elgin Mental Health Center (EMHC), asserting that he had failed to thrive at St. Joseph's and had refused to take medication or participate in therapy. The trial court conducted a hearing on the matter. At the hearing, respondent testified that he has heard voices since 1976; these voices have told him to run around naked, to stop eating and sleeping, and to commit suicide. Following the hearing, the trial court granted this petition, and respondent was transferred to EMHC on or about August 21, 1995.

On August 23, 1995, four days prior to the expiration of the order for respondent's involuntary admission, the Department of Mental Health filed a document entitled "motion to modify commitment order," purportedly pursuant to section 3--813 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3--813 (West 1994)). The motion stated that respondent had derived little benefit from his treatment at St. Joseph's and that it was too early to determine the effect of a new treatment plan implemented by EMHC. Accordingly, the motion sought an extension of respondent's period of hospitalization until September 29, 1995.

On August 25, 1995, the trial court held a hearing on the "motion to modify commitment order." Respondent's counsel objected to the hearing on the basis that the period of hospitalization could not be extended without a "recommitment ...

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