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11/12/97 MATTER MARY D. ANAST v. MARY D. ANAST

November 12, 1997

IN RE THE MATTER OF MARY D. ANAST, (ALLEGED TO BE A PERSON SUBJECT TO INVOLUNTARY PSYCHOTROPIC MEDICATION), RESPONDENT-APPELLANT, THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
MARY D. ANAST, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. Honorable Michael Murphy, Judge Presiding.

The Honorable Justice Leavitt delivered the opinion of the court. Cousins, P.j., and Cahill, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Leavitt

The Honorable Justice LEAVITT delivered the opinion of the court:

After a bench trial on August 20, 1996, Ms. Anast was ordered to be involuntarily hospitalized for no more than six months with the Department of Mental Health pursuant to Illinois' Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (the Code). 405 ILCS 5/1-110 (West 1996). After another bench trial on August 22, 1996, Ms. Anast was ordered to involuntarily receive psychotropic medication for a period not to exceed 90 days. 405 ILCS 5/2-107.1 (West 1996). Ms. Anast argues we should reverse the commitment order because (1) the State did not prove by clear and convincing evidence she was reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon herself or another, and (2) hospitalization was not the least restrictive alternative for treatment. Ms. Anast asserts that we should reverse the order for involuntary medication because she was denied her right to a jury trial. Although the issues raised are technically moot, as both orders have expired, they are capable of repetition and yet they evade review. We therefore address them. Madison Park Bank v. Zagel, 91 Ill. 2d 231, 235, 437 N.E.2d 638, 62 Ill. Dec. 950 (1982), citing August H. Skoglund Co. v. Department of Transportation, 67 Ill. App. 3d 276, 280, 384 N.E.2d 849, 23 Ill. Dec. 942 (1978). We affirm the commitment order and reverse the order for involuntary administration of psychotropic medication.

At the trial where the State sought Ms. Anast's confinement, Ms. Anast's brother, Dean, and Dr. Kristin Welch testified. Dean said he received a call from Ms. Anast's landlord on August 10, 1996. He told Dean that Ms. Anast was "disrupting the building." Dean drove to his sister's residence and found her in the hall ironing clothes and blocking the hallway. Dean said Ms. Anast's small, one-room apartment was "a disaster." He also said that he had previously seen his sister's apartment in good condition.

Dr. Welch said she examined Ms. Anast on August 15, 1996, and had contact with her during some of Ms. Anast's 15 previous hospital stays. She opined that Ms. Anast suffered from bipolar disorder, manic with psychotic features, and borderline personality. Dr. Welch testified that Ms. Anast had a manic, elevated, irritable mood. She said Ms. Anast could go from being "pleasant on the unit to very hostile, angry and at times threatening on the unit."

According to Dr. Welch, Ms. Anast made threatening comments to staff members. Specifically, Dr. Welch said Ms. Anast threatened one of the unit nurses, saying the nurse needed to "watch herself [from] now on whenever she walked out of the hospital to the parking lot." Furthermore, Dr. Welch said she personally observed a physical struggle between sheriffs and Ms. Anast in which a sheriff was poked with a needle tucked in Ms. Anast's waistband.

Finally, Dr. Welch testified that any alternative treatment less restrictive than hospitalization was "absolutely not" appropriate in this case. She opined that Ms. Anast would have great difficulty taking care of herself outside a structured setting.

Code section 1-119 defines a person subject to involuntary hospital admission as:

"(1) A person with mental illness and who because of his or her illness is reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm upon himself or herself or another in the near future; or

(2) A person with mental illness and who because of his or her illness is unable to provide for his or her basic physical needs so as to guard himself or herself from serious harm." 405 ILCS 5/1-119 (West 1996).

When seeking to have an individual involuntarily hospitalized, the State must show the need for such confinement by clear and convincing evidence. In re Manis, 213 Ill. App. 3d 1075, 1077, 572 N.E.2d 1213, 157 Ill. Dec. 749 (1994). Mere proof of mental illness is not alone sufficient to establish a person needs treatment. Manis, 213 Ill. App. 3d at 1077. However, the State is not required to prove respondent is a definite danger to himself or society. Manis, 213 Ill. App. 3d at 1077. Thus, courts do not have to wait until someone is harmed before ordering hospitalization. Manis, 213 Ill. App. 3d at 1077. We will not disturb a trial court's conclusion as to whether a respondent should be involuntarily hospitalized unless it is against the manifest weight of the evidence. Manis, 213 Ill. App. 3d at 1078.

Dr. Welch was the only expert who testified and one of only two witnesses called. Because of Dr. Welch's testimony regarding Ms. Anast's mental illness and concomitant instability which she said caused Ms. Anast to threaten others and be a potential danger to herself and society, we cannot say the court's order requiring Ms. Anast's hospitalization was against the manifest weight of the evidence.

As to Ms. Anast's claim that hospitalization was not the least restrictive treatment option, the only evidence involving possible alternative treatments came from Dr. Welch who said no alternative to hospitalization was viable in this case. Based on that, we also cannot say that the court's determination that hospitalization was the least restrictive alternative for Ms. Anast was against ...


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