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In re Crainshaw

Filed: November 3, 1981.

IN THE MATTER OF PATRICIA A. CRAINSHAW


Appeal by respondent from Tate, Judge. Order entered 5 March 1981 in District Court, Burke County. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 October 1981.

Martin (Robert M.), Judge. Judge Wells concurs. Judge Webb dissents.

Martin

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122-58.7(i) requires as a condition to a valid commitment order that the district court find two distinct facts

by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence: first that the respondent is mentally ill or inebriate and second, that the respondent is dangerous to herself or others.

It is for the trier of fact to determine whether evidence offered in a particular case is clear, cogent, and convincing. Our function on appeal is simply to determine whether there was any competent evidence to support the factual findings made. In re Monroe, 49 N.C. App. 23, 270 S.E.2d 537 (1980); In re Underwood, 38 N.C. App. 344, 247 S.E.2d 778 (1978).

The respondent contends that there is no competent evidence to support a finding or conclusion of dangerousness to self, either in the facts recorded in the court's order or in the record. The phrase "dangerous to himself" when used in Article 5A is defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122-58.2(1) as follows:

a. "Dangerous to himself" shall mean that within the recent past:

I. That he would be unable without care, supervision, and the continued assistance of others not otherwise available, to exercise self-control, judgment, and discretion in the conduct of his daily responsibilities and social relations, or to satisfy his need for nourishment, personal or medical care, shelter, or self-protection and safety; and

II. That there is a reasonable probability of serious physical debilitation to him within the near future unless adequate treatment is afforded pursuant to this Article. A showing of behavior that is grossly irrational or of actions which the person is unable to control or of behavior that is grossly inappropriate to the situation or other evidence of severely impaired insight and judgment shall create a prima facie inference that the person is unable to care for himself. . . .

The statutory language established a two prong test for dangerousness to self. The first prong addresses self-care ability regarding one's daily affairs. The second prong, which also must be satisfied for involuntary commitment to result, mandates a specific finding of a probability of serious physical debilitation resulting from the more general finding of lack of self-caring ability.

We have held that pursuant to G.S. 122-58.7(i) the facts supporting danger must be recorded by the trial court. In re Caver, 40 N.C. App. 264, 252 S.E.2d 284 (1979); In re ...


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