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In re Jill R.

January 15, 2003


Appeal from Circuit Court of Macon County No. 02MH13 Honorable Scott B. Diamond, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

Respondent, Jill R., appeals the March 2002 order of the trial court finding her subject to involuntary admission to a mental health facility pursuant to section 3-600 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2000)) and involuntary administration of psychotropic medication pursuant to section 2-107.1(a-5) of the Code (405 ILCS 5/2-107.1(a-5) (West Supp. 2001)). Respondent contends (1) the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction, (2) the trial court lacked personal jurisdiction, (3) the trial court abused its discretion in denying her motion for a two-day continuance, (4) she was prejudiced when neither she nor her attorney received notice of the hearing, (5) the trial court's order for involun-tary administration of psychotropic medication was against the manifest weight of the evidence, (6) the trial court should not have authorized medical tests, and (7) the petition did not state the petitioner made a good-faith effort to determine whether respondent had executed a health care power of attorney or a declaration for mental health treatment. We reverse.


On March 17, 2002, respondent was admitted to St. Mary's Hospital (St. Mary's) in Decatur, Illinois. The next day, Jon Scharfenberg, respondent's brother, filed a petition for emergency involuntary admission of respondent to a mental health facility. The petition alleged respondent had been hospitalized in February 2002 after she heard God tell her to set fire to her home in St. Charles, Missouri. Two certificates were attached to the petition. Stephen Rathnow of St. Mary's filed a petition for administration of psychotropic medication.

In a March 20, 2002, order filed on April 4, 2002, the trial court (1) set a hearing on the involuntary admission petition for 8:30 a.m. on March 20, 2002, (2) ordered the clerk to send notice to all required persons, and (3) appointed counsel to represent defendant. Respondent received actual notice of the hearing and appeared with counsel, who did not object to any lack of formal notice in the record.

The trial court first held a hearing on the petition for involuntary admission. At the outset, respondent's attorney made an oral motion for a two-day continuance to file a motion to dismiss and obtain supporting affidavits. He represented the following to the trial court: respondent's parents, Don and Peggy Scharfenberg, invited respondent to visit them in Macomb, Illinois, and they drove to visit Jon in Decatur, where Jon petitioned for respondent's admission. The trial court denied the motion for a continuance.

Respondent's counsel then made an oral motion to dismiss. Respondent testified she was arrested after her home burned and was out on bond. Respondent had an auto accident while en route to visit her parents at their invitation. Don and Peggy drove respondent to Decatur to pick up Jon, and they told respondent they were taking her to the hospital to see if she was okay after the accident. Respondent also stated she had been taking her medications after being discharged in Missouri. Respondent's attorney argued respondent was lured to Macon County and could not obtain evidence from Missouri. The trial court denied the motion to dismiss because respondent was present in Macon County.

The State then presented testimony from Peggy, Don, and Jon, as well as Dr. Rohi Patil. Respondent quit her job as a nurse to work at home through the Institute for Global Prosperity after receiving a message from God. Respondent stopped taking her medication. Peggy and Don supported respondent for about a month after her release from a mental health facility. She then left the motel in which she was staying and was moving home when she wrecked her truck. Respondent told Peggy she would "do something off a high place" if God asked her. Respondent also informed Peggy she stares at the sun and keeps her eyes open in a tanning salon to converse with God. Respondent told Jon "she had tried to blow up her house before and she would do it again if that is what it took to get her message out."

Dr. Patil, a psychiatrist, examined respondent and diagnosed her with a bipolar disorder. If untreated, respondent's prognosis would be very poor because she goes into spells of psychotic symptoms, paranoia, and delusions. Dr. Patil opined respondent could harm herself or others. Respondent told Dr. Patil she stopped taking medicine because she wanted to be free again. The trial court relied only on Dr. Patil's testimony and found by clear and convincing evidence respondent was in need of involuntary admission. The trial court ordered her hospitalized in the Department of Human Services (Department) for a period not to exceed 90 days.

The State next proceeded on the petition for administration of psychotropic medication. Dr. Patil again testified respondent refused to comply with medication because she said she was free by not taking it. Dr. Patil recommended up to 20 milligrams per day of Zyprexa, an antipsychotic and mood stabilizer, 25 milligrams per day for two weeks of Prolixin Decanoate, an antipsychotic, 500 milligrams twice per day of Depakote, a mood stabilizer, and up to 450 milligrams per day of Wellbutrin, an antidepressant. Dr. Patil discussed only Wellbutrin and Zyprexa with respondent. He was concerned about respondent's compliance with medication because she has refused in the past. Respondent was psychotic and her ability to function had deteriorated without the medication, which would allow her to be a productive human being. Her mental illness existed for a period of time marked by the continuing deterioration of her ability to function. Dr. Patil believed the benefits of the medication would outweigh the harm. Dr. Patil had tried other less restrictive services without success, and he believed respondent lacked the capacity to make a reasonable decision about the treatment. The trial court granted the petition.

This appeal followed.


A. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction

Respondent first argues the trial court lacked subject-matter jurisdiction because, according to her multidisciplinary treatment plan, she had been charged with a felony. We note the record does not specify which jurisdiction charged her with a felony, although respondent had been jailed in Missouri and released on bond. Respondent does not contend she had an Illinois felony charge, and nothing in the record suggests otherwise. Therefore, we consider whether respondent's out-of-state felony ...

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