State v. G. A. K.

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Court of Appeals
  • Area(s) of Law: Evidence
  • Date Filed: 10-26-2016
  • Case #: A159080
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Sercombe, P.J. for the Court; Flynn, J.; & DeHoog, J.

Under ORS 426.005(1)(f), evidence of past threats and overt attempts to carry them out can constitute clear and convincing evidence that a person is a danger to self or others, but evidence of vague threats without overt acts does not satisfy the evidence standard.

Appellant sought review of a judgment committing her to the custody of the Mental Health Division based on a finding that, because of a mental disorder, she was dangerous to others. See ORS 426.005(1)(f); ORS 426.130. On appeal, Appellant argued that State failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that she presented a danger to others. The State argued that “clear and convincing evidence supported the trial court’s determination that appellant was a danger to others due to her impaired judgment, paranoid thinking, impulsivity, serious threats, and claims of possessing weapons." Under ORS 426.005(1)(f), to justify an involuntary civil commitment, the State must prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that a person has a mental disorder and, because of that disorder, is a danger to self, others, or unable to meet his or her basic needs. “[I]f a mentally ill person has threatened others and has also carried out an overt violent act in the past against another person, those facts generally constitute clear and convincing evidence that the person is a danger to others.” In this case, the Court held that Appellant’s vague threats, in the absence of any overt act to carry them out, and in the absence of any overt violent act, were insufficient to establish that it is highly likely that appellant would engage in actual future violence. Therefore, the facts did not support a determination that, as the result of a mental disorder, Appellant would be a danger to others in the future. Reversed.

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