This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).






In the Matter of the Civil Commitment of:

Gregg Erling Allen d.o.b. 11-10-1966.


Filed May 28, 2002


Kalitowski, Judge


Hennepin County District Court

File No. P70160153


Warren J. Maas, 7964 Brooklyn Blvd., #107, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445 (for appellant)


Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, John L. Kirwin, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, 300 South Sixth Street, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)


            Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Willis, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N


            Appellant Gregg Erling Allen challenges the district court’s determination that he is mentally ill and dangerous.  We affirm.


            Findings of fact of a district court will not be set aside unless clearly erroneous.  In re Duvick, 497 N.W.2d 311, 313 (Minn. App. 1993).  Where the findings rest almost entirely on expert testimony, the district court’s evaluation of credibility is particularly significant.  In re Joelson, 385 N.W.2d 810, 811 (Minn. 1986).  Questions of law will be reviewed de novo.  In re Knops, 536 N.W.2d 616, 620 (Minn. 1995).

A person can be civilly committed for an indeterminate length of time pursuant to Minn. Stat. § 253B.18, subd. 3 (2000), if found to be mentally ill and dangerous.  A mentally ill person is defined as one

who has an organic disorder of the brain or a substantial psychiatric disorder of thought, mood, perception, orientation, or memory which grossly impairs judgment, behavior, capacity to recognize reality, or to reason or understand, which is manifested by instances of grossly disturbed behavior or faulty perceptions[.]


Minn. Stat. § 253B.02, subd. 13(a) (2000).  A person is “mentally ill and dangerous” when he is mentally ill and presents a clear danger to public safety because of the mental illness.  Id. at subd. 17 (2000).  This is demonstrated when

(i) the person has engaged in an overt act causing or attempting to cause serious physical harm to another and (ii) there is a substantial likelihood that the person will engage in acts capable of inflicting serious physical harm on another.




            Citing the conclusions of two experts, appellant argues the district court erred because his dangerous behavior was caused by a character disorder, and not a mental illness.  We disagree.

            Appellant relies on the conclusion of the first court-appointed examiner that he does not have an Axis I diagnosis, and the diagnosis of another psychiatrist who, after examining him several years ago, did not conclude that appellant had a mental illness.  The American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. 1994) (DSM-IV) groups mental disorders along a diagnostic system of five Axes and corresponding code numbers.  Axis I details the particular clinical syndrome, whereas Axis II details personality disorders.  Id. at 25-27.  Therefore, appellant’s first court-appointed examiner found he did not have a psychiatric disorder as found under Axis I in the DSM-IV, which is one of two lists from which a person can be diagnosed.  But every other psychiatrist and psychologist who provided a timely examination of appellant diagnosed him with a substantial psychiatric disorder.  And, moreover, they concluded that appellant’s psychiatric disorder caused his dangerousness and that he should be committed.

Further, one doctor noted that appellant’s behavior became increasingly bizarre since hospitalization, noting that he made threats to other patients and staff and was placed in emergency seclusion.  Later, a sharp piece of metal was found concealed in his room, demonstrating his potential for dangerous and deadly behavior.  That doctor concluded that appellant currently demonstrates delusional and disorganized thought and speech as well as mood instability marked with flight of ideas and irritability.  The treatment team concluded that appellant was a clear danger to the public and needed to be committed.

            The evidence supports the district court’s findings that (1) a thorough evaluation of appellant was conducted, including psychological and psychiatric assessments as well as a social history; (2) appellant’s treatment team concluded that he still needs care and treatment for his psychotic illnesses and therefore needs to remain at the hospital; and (3) the treatment team perceived appellant as a clear danger to the public.  We thus conclude there was sufficient evidence to support the district court’s finding that appellant is mentally ill and dangerous.