Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit. Peoria County, Illinois. No. 96-MH-311. Honorable C. Brett Bode, Judge, Presiding.
Released for Publication October 22, 1997.
Present - Honorable Tom M. Lytton, Presiding Justice, Honorable Kent Slater, Justice, Honorable Thomas J. Homer, Justice. Justice Lytton delivered the opinion of the court. Homer and Slater, JJ., concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lytton
The Honorable Justice LYTTON delivered the opinion of the court:
Respondent John Reed was admitted to Methodist Hospital on an emergency basis on December 2, 1996. The State filed a petition for involuntary admission on December 3, and a hearing was set for the next day. Both respondent and his guardian were present at the hearing.
The State presented testimony from Dr. Anthony James Caterine, respondent's treating psychiatrist. Respondent did not offer any evidence. The trial court found that respondent was a person subject to involuntary admission and ordered him committed for up to 90 days. Respondent appeals. We vacate the trial court's order.
Respondent is a 34-year-old man with Down's Syndrome and an I.Q. between 18 and 20; his mother is his legal guardian. On December 2, 1996, respondent's mother took him to a clinic to determine why his behavior was deteriorating. When clinic workers tried to perform a blood test, respondent started to hit his head violently against a wall, and he was subsequently admitted to the psychiatric unit of Methodist Hospital. While he was in the hospital, respondent began throwing himself on the floor for no apparent reason. The hospital staff became concerned that respondent would harm himself and restrained and medicated him. Continued medication has reduced respondent's agitated behavior.
On December 3, the State filed a petition for involuntary admission and supporting affidavits pursuant to section 3-600 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq. (West 1994)). See 405 ILCS 5/3-600. The trial court set a hearing on the petition for December 4. Respondent was not served with a notice of the hearing, and it is unclear whether notice was mailed to him. His guardian did not receive a copy of the petition or the notice of hearing. However, respondent and his guardian attended the hearing with appointed counsel.
At the hearing, the State presented testimony from Dr. Caterine, who stated that respondent was severely mentally retarded and that he could not rule out the possibility that respondent was also suffering from a mental illness. Dr. Caterine believed that respondent was benefitting from medication and should remain in the hospital for another week or two so that the dosages could be lowered to reduce the side effects. However, Dr. Caterine indicated that if there was a challenge to respondent's mother being his guardian, he would recommend hospitalizing respondent for a longer period. Respondent's counsel cross-examined Dr. Caterine, but did not present any other evidence.
The trial court found that respondent should be involuntarily committed for not more than 90 days because he had a "developmental disability, Down's Syndrome, possible mental illness to be ruled out in the future" and had shown a tendency to harm himself. The court believed that respondent's condition made him a danger to himself or others in the future. Respondent's guardian filed a timely notice of appeal from this order.
Respondent argues that the State did not prove that he met the criteria for involuntary admission under section 3-600 of the Code. See 405 ILCS 5/3-600. We agree.
Under section 3-600, the State must prove by clear and convincing evidence that respondent is "[a] person 18 years of age or older who is subject to involuntary admission and in need of immediate hospitalization." 405 ILCS 5/3-600, 3-808. Section 1-119 of the Code defines a "[person] subject to involuntary admission" as one suffering from a mental illness. 405 ILCS 5/1-119. In People v. Lang, 113 Ill. 2d 407, 453, 498 N.E.2d 1105, 1126, 101 Ill. Dec. 597 (1986), our supreme court stated that "[a] 'mentally ill' person for purposes of section 1-119 is an individual with an organic, mental or emotional disorder which substantially impairs the person's thought, perception of reality, emotional ...