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In Re: James H., A Person Found Subject v. James H

December 23, 2010


Appeal from Circuit Court Sangamon County No. 10MH262 Honorable Esteban F. Sanchez, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Knecht

JUSTICE KNECHT delivered the opinion of the court: Respondent, James H., appeals from the trial court's order of involuntary admission pursuant to section 3-600 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2008)). Respondent seeks reversal because the petition to involuntarily admit him failed to strictly comply with section 3-601(b)(2) of the Code and the court violated his constitutional and statutory rights to treatment in the least-restrictive environment. We affirm.


On March 29, 2010, the State filed a petition for the involuntary admission of respondent under section 3-600 of the Code (405 ILCS 5/3-600 (West 2008)). The petition alleged respondent was mentally ill and by reason of the mental illness

(1) was reasonably expected to inflict serious physical harm on himself or another in the near future and (2) was unable to provide for his basic physical needs so as to guard himself from serious harm. In support of those allegations, the petition provided the following factual basis:

"Schizophrenia, paranoid type with delusions. Client believes he is the son of God and is on earth to save us from evil."

The following portion of the petition was left blank:

"Listed below are the names and addresses of the spouse, parent, guardian, or substitute decision maker, if any, and close relative or, if none, a friend of the respondent whom I have reason to believe may know or have any of the other names and addresses. If names and addresses are not listed below, I made a diligent inquiry to identify and locate these individuals and the following describes the specific steps taken by me in making this inquiry ***."

The petition was accompanied by the certificates of one psychiatrist, one physician, and one qualified examiner as well as a lengthy written statement by the respondent describing himself as the son of God sent to do his Father's bidding. This includes battling with and killing demons. He specifically identifies President Obama as one of the demons.

The trial court set a hearing on the petition for April 2, 2010. At the hearing, psychiatrist Kasturi Kripakaran testified as an expert witness in psychiatry. Dr. Kripakaran was currently treating respondent at McFarland Health Center. She testified respondent suffered from schizophrenia due to fixed delusions he was the son of God named King James 777 and was "here to protect us from all evil." He believed President Obama comes from the clone hierarchy and is evil. Dr. Kripakaran recounted that respondent believes he "needs to protect us from the evil," would like to speak to President Obama face to face as Obama is Cain and respondent is Abel, and would like to prove to us Obama is cloned. Respondent's medical chart reflects he told a clinical director in Iroquois County he thinks President Obama is the "beast" and respondent and Obama will battle with respondent winning the battle.

Respondent approached the Watseka police department to let them know of his beliefs and the need for him to meet the President. This information was then sent to the United States Secret Service. From the medical records, Dr. Kripakaran believed the Secret Service interviewed respondent and respondent signed a release for the Service to be able to talk to Kripakaran.

It was the opinion of Dr. Kripakaran respondent can become agitated and threatening because of his delusions. As an example, Dr. Kripakaran noted she spent a great deal of time with respondent as he expressed his beliefs to her. When she opined he was delusional, respondent became agitated and stated "I will kick your ass down there to hell." Dr. Kripakaran felt threatened and intimidated. She concluded respondent would reasonably be expected to threaten people who did not believe his delusions.

Dr. Kripakaran believed respondent was in need of hospitalization to prevent harm to others, although she admitted on cross-examination there have been no other incidents of threatening behavior by respondent nor had he physically harmed any of his peers. A treatment plan had been formulated and was admitted into evidence along with the social investigation and psychiatric history of respondent. Dr. Kripakaran stated a 90-day hospitalization was the least-restrictive treatment for respondent at the present time.

Respondent testified he was originally from California but had lived in Illinois most of his life. When asked where he would live if not hospitalized, he stated "maybe in Tennessee, wherever. I'm kind of free-wheeling." Respondent stated he could support himself by giving guitar lessons.

Respondent admitted a previous hospitalization in Madden psychiatric facility after being "attacked by a knife." He was not aware of any diagnosis at the time of his previous hospitalization. He did not think he had any mental illness, let alone schizophrenia. Respondent claimed he would not become threatening if his beliefs were challenged. He stated Dr. Kripakaran caught him on a bad day when he threatened her. When asked if he told the doctor he would kick her ass, respondent admitted he did although he denied a desire to cause her physical harm or pain.

During his testimony, respondent referred to President Obama's "body chip" in his forehead but stated he had no plan formulated to cause him physical harm. He had been contacting sheriff's departments all across the country to have the police approach the president on this subject. Respondent also shared with the court his ...

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