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In re Steven T.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Fifth District

September 24, 2014

In re STEVEN T., Alleged to Be a Person Subject to Involuntary Treatment With Psychotropic Medication
v.
Steven T., Respondent-Appellant The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Randolph County. No. 13-MH-84. Honorable Richard A. Brown, Judge, presiding.

SYLLABUS

An order finding respondent subject to the involuntary administration of psychotropic medications was reversed, since the State failed to present the clear and convincing evidence required by the statute for the administration of testing and procedures requested, regardless of the mention in the petition that the testing and procedures would be essential to the safe and effective administration of the medication.

For Appellant: Veronique Baker, Director, Barbara A. Goeben, Staff Attorney, Legal Advocacy Service, Guardianship and Advocacy Commission, Alton, IL.

For Appellee: Hon. Jeremy R. Walker, State's Attorney, Randolph County Courthouse, Chester, IL; Patrick Delfino, Director, Stephen E. Norris, Deputy Director, Patrick D. Daly, Staff Attorney, Office of the State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor, Mt. Vernon, IL.

JUSTICE CATES delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Spomer and Schwarm concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 285

CATES, J.

[¶1] The respondent, Steven T., appeals from an order of the circuit court of Randolph County finding him subject to involuntary administration of psychotropic medications according to section 2-107.1(a-5) of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (Code) (405 ILCS 5/2-107.1(a-5) (West 2012)). The respondent argues that (1) the circuit court's finding that he met the statutory criteria for forced administration of medication was against the manifest weight of the evidence, and (2) he was not afforded effective assistance of counsel. The State has filed a confession of error. We find the respondent's contentions and the State's confession to be well-taken. For the reasons that follow, we reverse the order of the circuit court.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] The respondent was admitted to Chester Mental Health Center (Chester) on May 1, 2013, after having been found unfit to stand trial on a charge for domestic battery. He had no previous hospital admissions. Prior to being admitted to Chester, the respondent allegedly killed the family dog and then threatened to kill his family. Upon admission to Chester, he displayed aggressive behavior. On May 30, 2013, the respondent became agitated and threatened to harm others, which required restraints and the administration of emergency medication. On June 6, 2013, the respondent's treating psychiatrist at Chester, Dr. Sudarshan Suneja, filed a petition for the authority to administer involuntary psychotropic medication and the necessary, supportive medical testing. The petition indicated that the respondent had been given a list of side effects of the medication in writing. As the primary

Page 286

medications that Dr. Suneja sought to administer, the petition listed risperidone, risperidone consta, olanzapine, benztropine, lorazepam, and divalproex, with corresponding dosage ranges for each. The petition also listed alternative medications and their dosages should the primary medications prove to be ineffective. The petition also sought the authority to administer testing and procedures such as the use of a nasogastric tube should it become necessary.

[¶4] The court held a hearing on the petition on June 12, 2013. Dr. Suneja testified for the State as follows. He diagnosed the respondent as suffering from schizophrenia, disorganized type, with psychotic features. Since May 31, 2013, the respondent had been on emergency medication because he had become agitated and had threatened to hurt staff at ...


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