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In re Emmett J.

August 9, 2002

IN THE MATTER OF EMMETT J., ASSERTED TO BE A PERSON SUBJECT TO INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION AND INVOLUNTARY TREATMENT
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
EMMETT J., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois No. 01-MH-252 Honorable Thomas Ebel Judge, Presiding

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Holdridge

The respondent, Emmett J., appeals from orders of the circuit court involuntarily admitting him to a mental health facility and subjecting him to involuntary treatment. Respondent contends (1) the State did not establish by clear and convincing evidence that involuntary admission was necessary; (2) hospitalization was not the least restrictive alternative; and (3) the trial court erred in authorizing involuntary treatment. We affirm in part and reverse in part.

FACTS

The State filed a petition seeking commitment of respondent to a hospital. The State also filed a separate petition in which it sought the authority to involuntarily administer psychotropic medication to respondent in the course of his treatment.

At the hearing, respondent stated he wanted to represent himself, claiming he was an attorney and Oxford graduate. Respondent further stated that he had been a "judge of the Tenth" and a physician. The court denied respondent's request to represent himself.

Dr. Pratapkumar Attaluri testified he was respondent's treating psychiatrist. While living at a group home, respondent had stopped taking his medications for treatment of schizophrenia and he was not regularly eating his meals or bathing. Respondent later left the group home and was incarcerated in the county jail for violating an order of protection.

While incarcerated, respondent made delusional statements, refused to eat and refused to take his prescribed medication. Respondent was then transferred from the county jail to Zeller Mental Health Center (Zeller) for treatment of his condition. Dr. Attaluri testified respondent had been delusional since he was transferred to Zeller, believing that he was the President of the United States, a judge and an attorney. Respondent agreed with this testimony, stating "that's correct, exactly correct."

Dr. Attaluri had diagnosed respondent with schizophrenia, chronic paranoid type, and testified that respondent had been suffering from that mental illness for at least the past 10 years. Attaluri further testified that respondent did not believe he was mentally ill and he had refused to take his prescribed medication. Respondent had also refused to take his medication on several prior occasions over the past few years. When he stopped taking his medication, respondent had violated orders of protection his family members had obtained restraining respondent from contact with them.

Since he was admitted to Zeller, respondent had bathed and dressed himself, eaten meals, spoken with his therapist and attended group sessions. However, respondent persisted in his refusal to take psychotropic medication because he did not believe he was mentally ill. Dr. Attaluri opined that respondent was unable to provide for his basic physical needs and stated the treatment plan involved stabilizing respondent on his medications and then transferring him to a group home.

Respondent testified he had bathed, dressed himself and eaten meals regularly while he was at the group home and at Zeller. While in the county jail, respondent ate meals but showered less frequently because he viewed the jail as a hazardous place. Respondent stated he would live at his family farm if he was released from Zeller. However, on cross-examination, respondent stated he could not live at the family farm because tenants lived there. Respondent then testified he would live at his house on Park School Road if he was released.

The trial court found respondent was mentally ill and was unable to provide for his basic physical needs. The court entered an order involuntarily admitting respondent to the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.

At the hearing on the petition for involuntary treatment, Dr. Attaluri testified he had prescribed Haldol to stabilize the symptoms of respondent's mental illness and Ativan to treat anxiety and agitation. Dr. Attaluri testified such medications were the only effective treatment for respondent's condition. The potential side effects of these medications included tremors, rigidity and drowsiness, but respondent had not experienced any side effects when he previously took these medications. Dr. Attaluri further testified respondent would be monitored while taking the medications and he believed the benefits of this treatment outweighed any risks.

The court entered an order allowing involuntary administration of psychotropic medication and electro-convulsive therapy. The order did not specify the medications to be used or the ...


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