may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat.§ 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of: Michael Lozowy.
Filed April 15, 1997
Hennepin County District Court
File No. P99460277
Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, John St. Marie, Assistant County Attorney, A-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for Respondent Hennepin County)
Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.[*]
Appellant Michael Lozowy challenges the determination of the district court following a review hearing that his commitment as mentally ill continue for one year. We affirm.
the court must find that the patient is likely to attempt to physically harm self or others, or to fail to provide necessary personal food, clothing, shelter, or medical care unless involuntary commitment is continued.
Minn. Stat. § 253B.12, subd. 4 (1996); In re Adams, 352 N.W.2d 117, 119 (Minn. App. 1984). District court findings will not be reversed unless clearly erroneous. In re McGaughey, 536 N.W.2d 621, 623 (Minn. 1995). This court need not defer to the district court if the question is one of law. In re Stilinovich, 479 N.W.2d 731, 734 (Minn. App. 1992).
The district court found that if not involuntarily committed, appellant would likely attempt to physically harm himself or others and fail to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care based on his precommitment behavior. The court recognized that while hospitalized, appellant has complied with treatment and medication and has made no threats or assaults, but rejected less restrictive alternatives to continued hospitalization because appellant's past behavior was too dangerous and provisional discharge required additional planning.
Appellant contends the district court's findings that he has been compliant with treatment and has made no threats or assaults support his discharge. He argues that the finding he would fail to provide necessities if discharged had no factual basis. Appellant characterizes the treatment team's concern that he may, without structure and supervision, stop taking neuroleptic medication and decompensate or relapse as speculative, and contends it does not meet the requirement that the commitment must be supported by clear and convincing evidence. See McGaughey, 536 N.W.2d at 623 ("speculation" as to future harm insufficient to justify commitment). We disagree.
The fact that a patient is symptom-free while hospitalized and receiving medication does not preclude a finding of future dangerousness. See In re Dirks, 530 N.W.2d 207, 211 (Minn. App. 1995) (commitment as mentally ill and dangerous). Appellant is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, most recently manic episode and severe mood congruent, as well as borderline intellectual functioning. The record supports a finding that appellant does not yet have full insight into his mental illness; at the hearing, he testified he does not have a mental illness, although he acknowledged he was helped by medication. Further, there was evidence indicating that without structure and supervised monitoring, appellant would stop taking his mediation and decompensate, which in the past has caused him to become threatening and assaultive.
Because appellant's treatment team believed that appellant would likely fail to provide necessities, they did not recommend discharge to independent living. The team cited a neuropsychologist's opinion that appellant does not have the ability to live independently because of his borderline intellectual function and instead would require placement in a supervised living arrangement. The treatment team proposed allowing appellant increased privileges and gradually less restrictive passes, and planned to start examining group homes for him within a month.
Based on the evidence, the district court was not clearly erroneous in determining appellant would be likely to attempt to physically harm self or others unless the commitment was continued. We conclude the district court did not err in continuing appellant's commitment for one year.
[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.