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10/22/96 MATTER REBECCA JONES v. REBECCA JONES

October 22, 1996

IN THE MATTER OF REBECCA JONES, A/K/A BEKKI KEENE KENNEDY (A PERSON FOUND SUBJECT TO ADMINISTRATION OF MEDICATION) PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
REBECCA JONES, A/K/A BEKKI KEENE KENNEDY, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit Peoria County, Illinois. No. 96--MH--32. Honorable E. Michael O'Brien, Judge Presiding.

As Modified November 26, 1996. Released for Publication January 7, 1997.

Present - Honorable William E. Holdridge, Presiding Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice, Honorable John F. Michela, Justice. Justice Michela delivered the opinion of the Court: Holdridge, P.j. and Slater, J., concurring.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michela

JUSTICE MICHELA delivered the opinion of the Court:

The petitioner-appellee, the State, filed a petition to involuntarily administer psychotropic medication to the respondent-appellant, Rebecca Jones, a/k/a Bekki Keene Kennedy (Jones). The trial court granted the petition finding that Jones suffered from a serious mental illness and that the State satisfied the requirements of section 2--107.1 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (405 ILCS 5/2-107.1 (West 1994)). Jones appeals arguing, inter alia, the State failed to present clear and convincing evidence in support of its petition. We agree and reverse.

The limited record in this case reveals the following pertinent facts. Jones was residing in the Danville area when the local police served her with eviction papers at her apartment. The officers believed that Jones was acting in a bizarre manner and not taking care of her needs. Thus, they transported her to Good Samaritan Hospital for observation. She was admitted there and subsequently committed for a period of 180 days. It was reported that she refused to comply with treatment and that the hospital staff was unable to handle her. Thus, she was transferred to Zeller Mental Health Center on January 24, 1996.

On January 30, 1996, the State filed a petition to administer psychotropic medication to Jones. The trial court set the hearing for January 31, 1996, required notice be sent to appropriate parties, and appointed counsel to represent Jones. Jones was personally served with notice on January 31, 1996. Both she and her counsel were present at the hearing on January 31, 1996. Her counsel did not object to the timeliness of the notice nor did he make a showing as to any prejudice his client would suffer from such short notice.

The State called Dr. Pratap Attaluri, a psychiatrist at Zeller, as its only witness in the case. Dr. Attaluri stated he was assigned as the treating physician for Jones in this matter. He examined Jones on January 24, 1996 and found her to be loud, disruptive and delusional. According to Dr. Attaluri, Jones believes her name is Mrs. Kennedy and that she has been married to John F. Kennedy, Jr. She also believes she is an FBI agent involved in the Waco incident. Further, Jones told Dr. Attaluri that she could not take medication because it would adversely affect her multiple cancers. From this, Dr. Attaluri testified that Jones had no insight and impaired judgment.

Dr. Attaluri diagnosed Jones as suffering from personality changes secondary to a general medical condition, specifically a head injury. Dr. Attaluri believed that a head injury which occurred 30 years ago was the cause of Jones' mental illness. Dr. Attaluri proscribed Depakote, Haldol and Cogentin to treat Jones' mental illness. However, Dr. Attaluri stated that Jones refused the medication in fear of an allergic reaction. Dr. Attaluri testified that Jones was administered similar medication at Danville but then refused the medication because she complained of unpleasant side effects. According to Dr. Attaluri, there are potential side effects to these medications, such as tremors, rigidity and dryness of the mouth, but that such side effects could be controlled through the administration of companion medications. Further, Jones would be closely monitored for any physical reaction to the medication.

The following testimony completed Dr. Attaluri's direct examination:

"Q. Would it be your medical judgment that the possible benefits of the medication would outweigh any of the potential physical side effects of the medication?

A. Yes, I do believe that.

Q. Does the patient have the ability to make a reasoned decision in regards to taking the medication in ...


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