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In re Tammy D.

May 8, 2003

IN RE TAMMY D.
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
TAMMY D., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 01-MH-180 Honorable Ralph J. Mendelsohn, Judge, presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Goldenhersh

PUBLISHED

The respondent, Tammy D., appeals from an order of the circuit court of Madison County denying her motion to vacate an agreed order that required her to attend outpatient mental health treatment for 90 days following her release from Alton Mental Health Center (Alton). On appeal, the respondent contends that the trial court's motion denying her motion to vacate must be reversed because the agreed order was the result of coercion, duress, mistake, and grossly disparate bargaining positions between the State and the respondent and contravened both the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/ 1-100 et seq. (West 2000)) and public policy. We affirm.

FACTS

The respondent voluntarily admitted herself to Alton on August 8, 2001. On August 14, 2001, she filed a written request for discharge. On August 15, 2001, the State filed a petition for involuntary admission. A hearing was held on the State's petition on August 23, 2001. During the hearing, the State presented testimony that the respondent suffers from schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type. Not only had the respondent been admitted to Alton on three previous occasions, but she had also been admitted to other community hospitals for mental health treatment.

The respondent's symptoms include agitation, verbal aggression, paranoia, and delusions. On August 14, 2001, the respondent threatened an Alton staff member with a clothes hanger, and on August 21, 2001, she threatened a psychiatrist. According to Dr. Lenora Brown, a clinical psychologist at Alton, the respondent took only some of her medication and failed to attend all her treatment sessions. Dr. Brown opined that the respondent needed to stay at Alton until her acute symptoms could be better managed and until she could be placed in a less restrictive environment. At the time of the hearing, Dr. Brown did not believe that there was any less restrictive setting that was appropriate for the respondent. The projected date of the respondent's completion of treatment was September 22, 2001.

At the end of Dr. Brown's testimony, the respondent moved to dismiss the petition for involuntary admission because it had not been set for a hearing within five days of her receipt of the petition, as required by section 3-403 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-403 (West 2000)). The trial court agreed with the respondent and dismissed the petition for involuntary admission. On August 24, 2001, the State filed a new petition for involuntary admission. On August 30, 2001, that petition was dismissed on the basis that it was filed following a request for discharge but had not been filed within five days of the request for discharge, as required by section 3-403 of the Code.

On August 31, 2001, the respondent signed a request for voluntary admission and remained a voluntary recipient. On September 28, 2001, the State filed a petition for outpatient treatment, after the respondent's treatment team decided that the respondent was no longer in need of inpatient treatment and could function in a less restrictive setting if she received outpatient treatment, including counseling and medication. On October 2, 2001, that petition was withdrawn because the respondent's "housing situation [was] not resolved as anticipated." On October 5, 2001, another petition for outpatient treatment was filed. The file also shows that on October 2, 2001, the respondent, through the Legal Advocacy Service, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Anthony Rothert, of counsel, moved to strike and dismiss the petition for outpatient treatment on the ground that the petition was insufficient in that there is no statutory authority that requires a voluntary recipient to comply with outpatient treatment.

During the hearings on the petition for outpatient treatment, the respondent continued to be represented by attorney Anthony Rothert of the Legal Advocacy Service, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission. On October 11, 2001, the respondent and her attorney appeared before the trial court and agreed to an order for outpatient treatment. The order provided that the respondent would be treated at MidAmerica Behavioral Healthcare and by Dr. Tomas of St. Mary's Hospital for 90 days. The trial court specifically questioned the respondent regarding whether or not she agreed to this order:

"Q. [THE COURT:] You're in full agreement to [sic] this document?

A. Yes, sir, I am.

Q. Do you understand[,] by [the court] entering this order[,] that you will be discharged, but you will be treated at MidAmerica Behavioral Healthcare located in Belleville, and this order will remain in effect for 90 days, correct?

A. Yes.

[THE COURT:] Okay, ...


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