APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE RAYMOND L. JAGIELSKI, JUDGE PRESIDING.
As Corrected September 30, 1997. Released for Publication November 26, 1997.
Presiding Justice Wolfson delivered the opinion of the court. Burke, J., concurs. Cerda, J., dissents.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Wolfson
PRESIDING JUSTICE WOLFSON delivered the opinion of the court:
Respondent Denice Moore appeals from a December 10, 1996, order of the circuit court involuntarily committing her to the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities. We reverse.
On November 15, 1996, Maddix Moore petitioned the circuit court for an order involuntarily committing his daughter to a mental health facility. Therein, Moore alleged that immediate hospitalization was necessary because respondent was mentally ill and could be reasonably expected to inflict serious harm upon herself or another in the near future. Moore further alleged that respondent had been hospitalized on many prior occasions; that she had threatened to kill him and her mother, Doris Moore; that she physically assaulted her mother a few days earlier; that she "yells and curses;" that she "walks around without proper clothing;" that she has poor hygiene, and that she does not eat properly and has lost weight.
An order of detention was entered by the circuit court that same day, after which respondent was taken to Chicago Reed Mental Health Center. There, she was examined by two psychiatrists, Drs. Dang and Crisostomo.
Dang found respondent to be mentally ill and unable to provide for her basic physical needs so as to guard herself from serious harm. Dang specifically found respondent to be "acutely psychotic," noting her disorientation, illogical thinking, and absence from reality. It was Dang's opinion that respondent could be reasonably expected to inflict serious harm upon herself or another in the near future. Dang recommended that respondent be involuntarily committed. Crisostomo reached the same conclusions as Dang and also recommended respondent's involuntary commitment.
A commitment hearing was held on December 10, 1996. At that hearing, psychiatrist Dr. Paule Philippe testified that she had observed respondent during the week prior to the hearing and during that time had become acquainted with respondent and had reviewed respondent's records. Philippe also discussed respondent's care with respondent's family and former psychiatrist. According to Philippe, respondent's records chronicle 13 hospitalizations since 1981. They also describe respondent's most recent circumstances. Respondent was living on the street for several days during the winter, sleeping on porches; she was without a coat, shoes or socks, and was not eating. Respondent's mother also told Philippe that, in November, respondent stopped eating for a few days until she became so hungry that she began begging for food. However, when food was given to her, she became agitated and began to scream, at which time she was arrested and jailed. Philippe was further informed that when respondent would receive money, she would secure lodging in a hotel until her money ran out, then return to the street.
Based upon this information and her own independent examinations of respondent, Philippe diagnosed respondent as suffering from psycho-affective disorder. According to Philippe, respondent is "out of touch with reality," "incoherent," subject to moods swings and, at times, "very depressed." Philippe further testified that respondent is psychotic with paranoid delusions that "everybody is after her." It was also Philippe's opinion that respondent was unable to provide for her basic needs, and that a less restrictive alternative to hospitalization was not viable because respondent could not "take care of herself outside." Philippe further stated that respondent needed in-patient treatment.
A treatment plan for respondent was then introduced into evidence.
On cross-examination, Philippe conceded that what constitutes "taking care of one's self" is a debatable issue, and that while some may see a homeless person as someone unable to care for himself, others may see that person as resourceful. Philippe further conceded that respondent did not use the money she received for drugs or alcohol, but for shelter. Philippe also agreed that if one is hungry, the proper response is to ask for food.
The circuit court then listened to closing arguments on the issue of respondent's inability to provide for her basic physical needs, after which it found respondent subject to involuntary commitment. According to the circuit court, respondent was proved to be mentally ill ...