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In re Donald L.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Second District

February 5, 2014

In re DONALD L., Alleged to be a Person Subject to Involuntary Treatment (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
Donald L., Respondent-Appellant)

Page 1117

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1118

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County. No. 12-MH-126. Honorable Kathryn D. Karayannis, Judge, Presiding.

Reversed.

SYLLABUS

Although the order allowing respondent's doctors to administer unspecified tests had expired and his appeal was moot, the issue was considered under the public-interest exception, and since the order allowing " other tests necessary to evaluate safe administration of medications" was not supported by any evidence as to what the tests might be, the order was reversed on the ground that it violated section 2-107.1(a-5)(4)(G) of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code.

Veronique Baker, of Guardianship & Advocacy Commission, of Chicago, and Ann Krasuski, of Guardianship & Advocacy Commission, of Hines, for Appellant.

Joseph H. McMahon, State's Attorney, of St. Charles (Lawrence M. Bauer and Diane L. Campbell, both of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE HUDSON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Jorgensen and Birkett concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HUDSON, JUSTICE

Page 1119

Respondent, Donald L., appeals the trial court's order authorizing the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication and testing for up to 90 days under section 2-107.1(a-5)(4) of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/2-107.1(a-5)(4) (West 2012)). Respondent contends that the trial court failed to comply with the Code when it allowed his doctors to administer unspecified tests. He also contends that the court erred in finding that he lacked capacity to make a reasoned decision about medication. We agree with respondent's first contention and reverse on that point.

I. BACKGROUND

On November 8, 2012, respondent was involuntarily admitted to the Elgin Mental Health Center after being adjudicated unfit to stand trial for possession of a weapon. He had previously been involuntarily admitted from February 17, 2011, to April 25, 2011. After that, he was living in the community and receiving mental health treatment.

On November 21, 2012, respondent's treating psychiatrist, Dr. Mirella Susnjar, sought an order authorizing the involuntary administration of psychotropic medication, testing, and medical procedures. On December 7, 2012, a hearing was held.

Susnjar testified that respondent was diagnosed with schizophrenia, undifferentiated type, which is a serious mental illness. She said that respondent heard voices that he perceived as real. Respondent believed that the Mormon Church was a threat to him and that the voices were warning him about it. Susnjar said that respondent demonstrated symptoms such as hallucinations and difficulty socializing with people. In her opinion, respondent displayed unreasonable fears and false beliefs, which made him unable to appreciate his problems or make decisions about medication. She opined that his mental illness caused a deterioration of his

Page 1120

ability to function, including making him unfit to stand trial.

Susnjar stated that respondent did not believe that he had a mental illness. She said that she spoke with him four times to discuss medication and that he said that he would not take it, expressing strong beliefs that the medications would hurt him, make him fat, possibly cause him to transfer birth defects to his future partner, and cause side-effects that he previously experienced with psychotropic medications.

Susnjar requested to administer risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, and aripiprazole for psychosis and haloperidol and lorazepam for anxiety. She also requested diphenhydramine (Benadryl) and benztropine to address side-effects. She testified specifically about each medication and stated why she selected it. Susnjar said that she chose medications that would be comfortable for respondent to use, but there were also 15 alternate medications she could offer for respondent to choose from.

The petition sought to administer the following tests and procedures:

" Physical exam, weight, vitals: blood pressure, pulse, respiration, temperature, blood work: CBC and differential, BUN and creatine, liver function tests, lipid panel, thyroid tests, and other tests necessary to evaluate safe administration of ...

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