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In re Helen S.

August 05, 2003

IN RE HELEN S., ALLEGED TO BE A PERSON SUBJECT TO INVOLUNTARY ADMISSION
(THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,
v.
HELEN S., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT).



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Madison County. No. 01-MH-200 Honorable Ralph J. Mendelsohn, Judge, presiding.

Justices: Honorable Richard P. Goldenhersh, J. Honorable Terrence J. Hopkins, P.J., and Honorable Clyde L. Kuehn, J., Concur

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Goldenhersh

PUBLISHED

Rule 23 order filed March 6, 2003

Motion to publish granted August 5, 2003.

Helen S. (respondent) was found to be a person subject to involuntary admission pursuant to a petition under the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (the Code) (405 ILCS 5/1-100 et seq. (West 2000)). The petition had been filed in the circuit court of Madison County. On appeal, respondent raises the issue of whether the petition for involuntary admission should have been barred under the doctrine of res judicata. We reverse.

FACTS

In November 2001 several petitions seeking the involuntary admission of respondent were filed in the circuit court of Madison County. Respondent was found to be a person subject to involuntary admission pursuant to a petition that was filed on November 30, 2001.

The first petition was filed on November 26, 2001. The petition was signed by the respondent's ex-husband and dated November 21, 2001. See 405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2000). The petition alleged that respondent had taken 50 tablets of Excedrin P.M. in an apparent suicide attempt and had been taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. The petition alleged that respondent had a history of schizophrenia, multiple hospitalizations, and refusals to take her medications and that she was unwilling to talk about the situation.

The record also contains a document labeled "petition for involuntary admission" that was filed on November 27, 2001. Attached to the petition is a certificate signed by psychiatrist Radhka Rao; however, no other paperwork was filed on that date.

On November 29, 2001, a petition dated November 27, 2001, signed by a crisis counselor, Sheryl Phinney, was filed. See 405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2000). This petition reiterated many of the allegations contained in the petition filed November 26, 2001. This petition also alleged that respondent was refusing to eat or drink liquids and was pacing the unit and refusing medical care.

On November 29, 2001, the matter was called for a hearing. Respondent moved to dismiss on the grounds that the State had failed to file with the court proof of service within 24 hours of admission and proof that respondent had been informed of her rights. See 405 ILCS 5/3-611 (West 2000). The State presented testimony from Dr. Lenora Brown, a licensed clinical psychologist at the Alton Mental Health Center. Dr. Brown testified that respondent was admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital in Bond County on November 20, 2001. Pursuant to a petition and first certification, respondent was transferred to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Granite City on November 21, 2001. On November 21, 2001, a second certification was done. Pursuant to a second petition, respondent was transferred to the Alton Mental Health Center on November 27, 2001. Dr. Brown testified that the second petition was served upon respondent; however, she had no records available for proof of service of the first petition. Dr. Brown testified that it was her understanding that respondent had been placed in the psychiatric unit at St. Elizabeth's Hospital and had been confined under an emergency petition upon her arrival at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. The trial court granted the motion to dismiss and the petitions were stricken.

The State moved for a temporary detention and an examination pursuant to section 3-607 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-607 (West 2000)). Respondent objected to the court hearing new testimony on the State's motion. Based upon the testimony offered by the State in opposition to the motion to dismiss, the court agreed to hear further evidence and heard testimony from respondent's ex-husband, a son, and Dr. Brown. Respondent was presented as a witness on her own behalf. Respondent was non-responsive to several questions from her own counsel, but she did state that she did not want to be there. Respondent failed to answer any of the questions presented by the State on cross-examination. The court entered an order detaining respondent for examination for a period of no more than 24 hours, pursuant to section 3-607 of the Code.

On November 30, 2001, a petition for involuntary admission was filed. It was dated November 29, 2001, and signed by Bobbie Laker, a licensed clinical social worker. See 405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2000). The petition repeated many of the allegations contained in the prior petitions and stated that respondent's activities remained similar. The petition also stated ...


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