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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one late today, re involuntary commitment

In In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of T.K. v. Dep't of Veterans Affairs, an 8-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice Dickson writes:

T.K. challenges the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his involuntary civil commitment. He was committed following a hearing on October 18, 2013. To obtain an involuntary regular commitment of an individual, a "petitioner is required to prove by clear and convincing evidence that: (1) the individual is mentally ill and either dangerous or gravely disabled; and (2) detention or commitment of that individual is appropriate." Ind. Code ยง 12-26-2-5(e) (2012). The trial court's order of commitment declared that, by clear and convincing evidence, T.K. was mentally ill and both dangerous and gravely disabled. The Court of Appeals affirmed in a memorandum decision. In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of T.K., No. 49A02-1310-MH-878, 3 N.E.3d 1090 (Ind. Ct. App. Jan. 30, 2014) (table), clarified on reh'g, 10 N.E.3d 100 (Ind. Ct. App. Apr. 3, 2014) (table). We now grant transfer and reverse. * * *

T.K. made no physical outbursts, destroyed no property, did not put himself or others in actual danger with idiosyncratic behavior, and was not at risk of suffering a lack of food, clothing, or shelter. Instead, at best, the evidence suggests that T.K.'s loud, boisterous, and rude public behavior harmed his reputation and made others not want to be around him. That is not sufficient evidence to support a civil commitment on grounds of grave disability.

Clear and convincing evidence was not presented at T.K.'s civil commitment hearing to establish that he was either dangerous or gravely disabled, and we thus hold that the civil commitment of T.K. was improper and is hereby reversed.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on March 19, 2015 04:47 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions