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In Re Rita P., Alleged To Be Subject To Involuntary Medication v. Rita P

February 19, 2013


Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 2011 COMH 2560 Honorable Paul A. Karkula, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Delort

JUSTICE DELORT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Cunningham and Rochford concurred in the judgment and opinion.


¶ 1 Following an evidentiary hearing, the circuit court entered an order authorizing the administration of involuntary psychotropic medication to respondent, Rita P., for 90 days. On appeal, respondent contends that the order should be reversed because the trial court failed to make findings of fact, as required by section 3-816(a) of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/3-816(a) (West 2010)). Respondent also contends that the instant appeal falls within three recognized exceptions to the mootness doctrine. We find that the case is not moot, and reverse.

¶ 2 In August 2011, respondent was a 51-year-old voluntarily admitted patient at a mental health facility. One of her treating physicians, Dr. He Yuan, filed a petition requesting a court order authorizing involuntary treatment, specifically, the administration of the drug Risperidone for up to 90 days.

¶ 3 At the September 2, 2011 hearing on the petition, respondent's son, Mayjourio P., testified that prior to respondent's admission to the mental health facility, he was living with her in Evanston, where she ran a daycare facility. In January 2008, Mayjourio P. noticed that respondent was becoming angry and isolated, and she discussed how she was going to harm the people who had wronged her. In March 2009, respondent started to talk to herself. In December 2009, respondent was involved in choir practice at her church, and Mayjourio P. noticed that she developed different personalities that she said were members of her church. Respondent started using different voices to talk to herself. Shortly thereafter, respondent stopped going to choir practice and told Mayjourio P. in February 2010 that she was "spiritually raped" by members of the church in her house, although these people had never physically been to the house.

¶ 4 As respondent's condition deteriorated, she neglected her responsibilities and had conversations with herself using up to 15 different voices at a time. Although respondent continued running the daycare, one of her own children had to be with her in case she became distracted and could not provide proper care. In September 2010, when Mayjourio P. witnessed respondent choking herself, she claimed that "the voices" or "the church" was choking her. Respondent attempted to obtain a gun license and told Mayjourio P. that she was going to kill the church members because they were choking her. In February and March 2011 respondent placed open containers of gasoline in her house and stated that it was for "experiments."

¶ 5 One day in late July 2011, Mayjourio P. came home from work at about 6 p.m. and saw respondent lying in bed. Mayjourio P. thought she was dead because she was not responding to him. He shook her and told her to get out of bed. After about 10 minutes, respondent replied in a man's voice that "Rita [is] dead," and Mayjourio P. lifted her out of bed. He told respondent that he was taking her to the hospital, and she resisted by punching and kicking him. Mayjourio P. called the police, who took her to the hospital.

¶ 6 Dr. He Yuan testified that he was a psychiatrist at Chicago Read Mental Health Center (Read) and that respondent was admitted there on August 3, 2011. Yuan first saw respondent on August 5 and then saw her almost daily. He believed that respondent suffered from "schizophrenia paranoid type" disorder. Specifically, respondent suffered from delusions regarding members of her church that she claimed embodied her and that she attempted to choke herself because she wanted to kill the people inside of her. Based on her delusions, which sometimes were expressed through anger, Yuan believed respondent might be dangerous. He sought to medicate respondent with the antipsychotic medication Risperidone to treat her schizophrenia.

¶ 7 Respondent testified that she had a home daycare business that she closed due to the bad economy. She subsequently filed for bankruptcy and was awarded general assistance. Respondent was on several boards in the community, including the Community Economic Development Association, of which she was nominated as the treasurer between April and June 2011. Beginning in 2009, church members threatened respondent with bodily harm, and she filed numerous police reports to that effect. Respondent noted that when police removed her from her house, she initially went to Evanston hospital before going to Read.

¶ 8 Following argument, the court granted the petition. In doing so, the court stated, "The testimony here is overwhelming in support of the State's petition. All three witnesses and all the observations of the Court made in open court today so I am going to grant the petition." This appeal followed.

¶ 9 There is no dispute that the case underlying the instant appeal is technically moot, as the circuit court's 90-day involuntary medication order expired on December 1, 2011. However, respondent contends that her appeal falls within several exceptions to the mootness doctrine. In particular, respondent argues that three exceptions apply: the collateral consequences exception, the public interest exception, and the exception for issues capable of repetition yet avoiding review.

¶ 10 The collateral consequences exception allows a reviewing court to consider a case that is otherwise moot where an order for involuntary treatment "could return to plague the respondent in some future proceedings or could affect other aspects of the respondent's life." In re Val Q., 396 Ill. App. 3d 155, 159 (2009); see also In re Dawn H., 2012 IL App (2d) 111013, ¶ 13. For example, reversal of an involuntary treatment order could provide a basis for a motion in limine in a future proceeding that would prohibit any mention of the prior treatment. In re Alfred H.H., 233 Ill. 2d 345, 362 (2009). The exception applies to a first involuntary-treatment order (In re Linda K., 407 Ill. App. 3d 1146, 1150 (2011)), but not where the respondent has previously been subject to involuntary treatment, since in those circumstances, any collateral consequences would have already attached (Alfred H.H., 233 Ill. 2d at 362-63).

ΒΆ 11 In this case, the parties correctly agree that respondent has not been previously subject to an order for involuntary administration of medication or other involuntary treatment. In addition, given her diagnosis, it is likely respondent may be subject to future proceedings that would be adversely impacted by past involuntary treatment. Given these ...

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