STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of:
Filed October 5, 1999
Toussaint, Chief Judge
Hennepin County District Court
File No. P89960130
Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, William A. Nieman, Assistant County Attorney, C-2000 Government Center, Minneapolis, MN 55487 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Peterson, Judge.
Kevin Kosek appeals his commitment as mentally ill, contending that he does not have a substantial psychiatric disorder or pose a substantial likelihood of physical harm to himself or others. Because clear and convincing evidence supports the district court's decision, we affirm.
Before ordering commitment as mentally ill, the district court must have clear and convincing evidence that the proposed patient has
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) (1998); see Minn. Stat. § 253B.09, subd. 1 (1998) (setting out clear and convincing standard).
Appellant does not dispute that he is mentally ill with schizo-affective disorder. But he asserts that the disorder is not "substantial" because it did not grossly impair his judgment or behavior. Instead, he contends he was able to function in the community, and he explains his alleged lack of insight into his condition by referring to the stigma attached to the label of mentally ill.
The district court, however, determined this standard was met, citing appellant's paranoia, his very unrealistic plans for the future, his anger and verbal threats, and the extreme nature of his denial and lack of insight. Further, as demonstrated by the record, the district court found (1) appellant's condition is far more severe than can be explained by a mere fear of being labeled mentally ill; and (2) appellant demonstrated no insight into his symptoms, persistently rejected even considering he might be experiencing a mental disorder, and adamantly refused to take prescribed medication, despite the fact that he was psychotic, delusional, and sexually preoccupied, with an entrenched mental illness. This record provides clear and convincing evidence that appellant exhibited grossly disturbed behavior or faulty perceptions as a result of his substantial psychiatric disorder. See In re Fusa, 355 N.W.2d 456, 457 (Minn. App. 1984) (holding grossly disturbed behavior shown by increasing hostility, violent outbursts, hallucinations, and assaultive behavior).
Next, a district court must have clear and convincing evidence that the person poses a substantial likelihood of harm to himself or others; see Minn. Stat. § 253B.09, subd. 1 (clear and convincing standard.), as demonstrated by a failure to obtain necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care, or a recent attempt or threat to harm himself or others. While the determination may not be based on speculation, it is not necessary that the person harm himself or others before commitment is justified. McGaughey, 536 N.W.2d at 623.
Appellant contends he has shown that he can care for himself because he has $400 to rent a room and buy food and he has plans as to how he can support himself in the future. He points to evidence that he cared for himself and his family in the past. As to statements he made that the court found threatening, appellant argues they were expressed in the past tense and thus were not threats. He also attempts to minimize and justify his statements and actions.
The district court found appellant had no income or resources. Further, although appellant's mother had allowed him to live with her after appellant's wife obtained a restraining order, his mother will no longer allow him to do so because she is afraid of him. In addition appellant, plans to obtain shelter by meeting a woman through a personal ad and then moving in with her are unrealistic, as are his plans to obtain a high-paying position. The evidence also showed appellant becomes very volatile when his delusional beliefs are challenged. Finally, he has assaulted his wife and he has threatened his treating psychiatrist, staff members, and family members. The district court's findings, which are not clearly erroneous, provide clear and convincing evidence that appellant posed a substantial likelihood of physical harm to himself and others. See In re Martin, 458 N.W.2d 700, 704-05 (Minn. App. 1990) (holding likelihood of harm shown by threats of assault to others and increasingly paranoid delusions which could lead to provocative behavior in community).