« Ind. Gov't. - More on: Appellate jurists could serve till 80 under proposed bill [Updated] | Main | Ind. Decisions - AG points out that the GA "could revise the challenged statute" re abortion clinics »

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Court of Appeals issues 2 today (and 3 NFP)

For publication opinions today (2):

In In the Matter of the Mental Health Proceedings of B.M. v. Indiana University Health Hospital , an 11-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Mathias writes:

B.M. appeals the Monroe Circuit Court’s order involuntarily committing him to a mental health facility. Specifically, B.M. argues that Indiana University Health ("the Hospital”) did not present sufficient evidence to support his involuntary commitment. We affirm.

On March 28, 2014, B.M. placed a 911 call from the Ellettsville Library to the police because he was worried that people were obtaining his personal information through a social network. The police transported B.M. to the Hospital where he was examined by an emergency room physician and a social worker. Both the physician and the social worker believed that B.M. was psychotic and paranoid and a potential threat to the safety of others. Therefore, the Hospital filed an application for emergency detention. The trial court authorized B.M.’s emergency detention and he was admitted to the Hospital. * * *

In Indiana, a court may order a temporary commitment of not more than ninety
days for an individual who is mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled. Ind. Code § 12-26-6-1. B.M. argues that the Hospital failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that he is a dangerous individual, and therefore, the trial court’s involuntary commitment order is not supported by sufficient evidence. * * *

No evidence in the record indicates that B.M. has actually harmed anyone, but a
trial court is not required to wait until an individual commits a physical act before determining that the individual poses a substantial risk of harm to others. M.Z. v. Clarian Health Partners, 829 N.E.2d 634, 638 (Ind. Ct. App. 2005), trans. denied (citation omitted). See e.g., In re Commitment of T.K. v. Dep’t of Veterans Affairs, 993 N.E.2d 245, 250 (Ind. Ct. App. 2013) (concluding that evidence of threats and hostility towards hospital staff and T.K.’s denial that he suffers from mental illness established that T.K. was a danger to others). For all of these reasons, we conclude that the trial court’s finding that B.M. is a danger to others is supported by sufficient evidence. We therefore affirm the trial court’s order of commitment.

CRONE, J., concurs.
RILEY, J., dissents with opinion. [which begins on p.9, and which concludes] Even though B.M. is irritable and hostile, a commitment cannot be based solely on his display of idiosyncratic behavior, albeit maybe unusual and even undesirable, without any display of danger to himself or others. As no clear and convincing evidence confirms that B.M.’s displayed aggression derived from his delusions, I cannot conclude that B.M. is dangerous within the perimeters of the involuntary commitment statute. Because “[t]here is no constitutional basis for confining a mentally ill person who is not dangerous[,]” I would reverse the trial court’s order of involuntary commitment. See Commitment of J.B., 581 N.E.2d at 451.

In In the Matter of: L.C. (Minor Child), Child in Need of Services and S.C. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services , a 17-page, 2-1 opinion, Judge Mathias writes:
L.C. was adjudicated a Child In Need of Services (“CHINS”) by the Marion Superior Court. L.C.’s father, S.C. (“Father”), appeals. Father presents two issues in his appeal, but we address a single dispositive issue, namely, whether Father’s due process rights were violated when the juvenile court adjudicated L.C. a CHINS before the conclusion of the fact-finding hearing. * * *

Father claims that the juvenile court violated his due process rights by depriving him of “a meaningful CHINS hearing.” * * *

In this case, the procedure employed by the juvenile court with respect to Father’s fact-finding hearing has been expressly rejected by the Indiana Supreme Court. * * *

While S.S. is helpful in its explanation of the inherent conflicts caused by the CHINS statute, our supreme court’s analysis in In re K.D. controls the facts and circumstances here. * * *

Because Father challenged the allegations in the CHINS petition, due process requires the completion of a fact-finding hearing, including the presentation of evidence and argument by both parents, if present in person or by counsel, before L.C. is adjudicated a CHINS.

Conclusion. For all of these reasons, we conclude that the juvenile court erred by adjudicating L.C. a CHINS before the completion of the fact-finding hearing. We therefore reverse the juvenile court’s adjudication and remand this cause for a new fact-finding hearing. Reversed and remanded with instructions.

NAJAM, J., concurs.
BRADFORD, J., dissents with opinion. [ which begins at p. 10] I believe that Father received all the process that was due to him. Despite the
timing of various occurrences in this case, Father has failed to establish that he was denied a meaningful opportunity to be heard. Consequently, I must respectfully dissent. Because I cannot join the majority’s procedural disposition of this case, I would reach the questions of whether the juvenile court’s findings supported its conclusion and whether the juvenile court’s disposition was appropriate. On those questions, I would affirm the judgment of the juvenile court.

NFP civil opinions today (0):

NFP criminal opinions today (3):

Mishael Johnson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Michael Hall v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Lumaz L. Thompson v. State of Indiana (NFP)

Posted by Marcia Oddi on January 7, 2015 10:38 AM
Posted to Ind. App.Ct. Decisions