in the Court of Appeals 17 January 2019.
by respondent from order entered 15 September 2017 by Judge
Tyyawdi M. Hands in Mecklenburg County No. 17 SPC 7825
Attorney General Joshua H. Stein, by Assistant Attorney
General John Tillery, for the State.
Appellate Defender Glenn Gerding, by Assistant Appellate
Defender Jillian C. Katz, for respondent-appellant.
appeals from an Involuntary Commitment Order entered against
him. Respondent argues that the trial court made insufficient
findings of fact to support its conclusion that Respondent
was dangerous to himself and others. We agree. As a result,
the order is vacated and remanded to the trial court for
additional findings of fact.
examining Respondent on 6 September 2017, Dr. Kelly Hobgood
of Carolinas Medical Center-Randolph
("CMC-Randolph") in Charlotte executed an Affidavit
and Petition for Involuntary Commitment alleging that
Respondent was "a substance abuser" who was
"mentally ill and dangerous to self or others." The
magistrate ordered that Respondent be taken into custody on 7
September 2017. Later that day, Dr. W. Carlton Gay of the
Behavioral Health Center at CMC-Randolph examined Respondent
and completed an "Examination and Recommendation to
Determine Necessity for Involuntary Commitment" form. On
the form, Dr. Gay marked boxes indicating that Respondent was
"mentally ill," "dangerous to self,"
"dangerous to others," and "a substance
abuser." To support his conclusions, Dr. Gay included in
the "Description of Findings" that Respondent
[m]aintains that he has 5 military staff members stationed
around the area giving his [sic] intelligence information to
help in his lawsuit against York County Court system/jail.
Has made threatening statements toward the judicial staff
there in general for the way that he was treated (threat made
while here). Feels the Constitution provides him
justification. Prior to coming to ED, he took a large # of
Valium and Ativan in a suicide attempt.
commitment hearing was held on 15 September 2017 before the
Honorable Tyyawdi M. Hands. After hearing testimony, Judge
Hands stated that "[b]ased on the evidence, the Court
concludes that Respondent is mentally ill and is . . .
dangerous to either himself and/or others. For those reasons,
I enter the order that he be committed for up to 30
additional days here and for a 90-day outpatient order."
In the trial court's written Involuntary Commitment
Order, the trial court marked boxes indicating that
Respondent was mentally ill and dangerous to himself or
others. To support those conclusions, the trial court marked
another box that stated: "Based on the evidence
presented, the Court . . . by clear, cogent, and convincing
evidence, finds as facts all matters set out in [Dr.
Gay's 7 September 2017 report], and the report is
incorporated by reference as findings." In addition, the
trial court found the following additional facts in support
of involuntary commitment:
Resp[ondent] followed by [outpatient psychiatrist] where he
has high dose of Adderall [and] Valium meds. Brought by
mom-agitated [and] required multiple forced meds [and]
restraints. Sent texts that he was going to start a war [and]
had 400 rounds. Has grandiose thoughts. He says he is a
commander [and] if judge makes wrong decision in his court
case he will extract the judge [and] have his own hearing
[and] same [at] Rock Hill PD. Refuses to consider reasonable
meds for mania [and] psychosis. Remains on forced meds [and]
is calmer today because [of] multiple doses. Resp[ondent]
admits he has PTSD from Iraq and retired early. Resp[ondent]
is unhappy about the side effects of the medication including
feeling very groggy. Resp[ondent] denies mak[ing] the
comments about the rounds.
trial court ordered a thirty-day inpatient commitment for
Respondent, followed by a ninety-day period of outpatient
commitment. Respondent timely appealed.
argues on appeal that the trial court erred in concluding
that he was a danger to himself or others, without making
sufficient findings of fact to support that conclusion. For
the reasons explained below, we agree.
Respondent's Commitment Order has already expired, we
note that the argument before us is not moot because
"the challenged judgment may cause collateral legal
consequences for the appellant." In re Booker,
193 N.C.App. 433, 436, 667 S.E.2d 302, 304 (2008). Such
collateral legal consequences might include use of the
judgment to attack the capacity of a trial witness, for
impeachment purposes, to attack the character of a defendant
if he has put character in issue, or to form the basis for a
future commitment. In re Hatley, 291 N.C. 693, 695,
231 S.E.2d 633, 635 (1977).
deciding whether to involuntarily commit an individual for
inpatient treatment, the trial court must make two specific
findings "by clear, cogent, and convincing
evidence." N.C. Gen. Stat. § 122C-268(j) (2017).
First, the trial court must find "that the respondent is
mentally ill." Id. Second, the trial court must
find that the respondent is "dangerous to self, . . . or
dangerous to others." Id. In its ...