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In the Interest of J.H.

April 24, 2013

IN THE INTEREST OF J.H., ALLEGED TO BE SERIOUSLY MENTALLY IMPAIRED, J.H., RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.


Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Plymouth County, Steven J. Andreasen, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Danilson, J.

J.H. alleges ineffective assistance of counsel in an Iowa Code chapter 229 (2011) proceeding wherein he stipulated to serious mental impairment.

REMANDED WITH DIRECTIONS.

Considered by Eisenhauer, C.J., and Danilson and Bower, JJ.

J.H. alleges ineffective assistance of counsel in an Iowa Code chapter 229 (2011) proceeding wherein he stipulated to serious mental impairment. Because the record is inadequate to determine whether or not appointed counsel was ineffective, we remand for a determination by the same judicial officer who entered the order adjudicating J.H. seriously mentally impaired. If that officer finds counsel was ineffective, J.H. shall be allowed to withdraw his stipulation and the State may pursue adjudication anew.

I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

On June 4, 2012, J.H.'s mother filed an application and supporting affidavit alleging that he was seriously mentally impaired. She noted a change in his behavior marked by paranoia and aggression toward his wife. She feared that "drugs have become a problem." J.H.'s brother also filed a supporting affidavit confirming he also observed paranoia and witnessed J.H. threaten his family members. J.H. was detained at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute (CMHI) pending a hospitalization hearing, pursuant to Iowa Code section 229.11.*fn1

A June 6 CMHI report deemed J.H. mentally ill, incapable of making responsible decisions with respect to his treatment, likely to physically injure himself or others, and likely to inflict severe emotional injury on those unable to avoid contact with him. Appointed counsel for J.H. filed an application for a second physician's examination, pursuant to Iowa Code section 229.10(1)(a).*fn2

The application was granted, and a second examination was scheduled for June 18.

In the interim an updated report completed on June 12*fn3 stated that while J.H. was mentally ill, he had "gained some insight into his illness" and agreed to comply with the recommendation for outpatient treatment. Thus, he was deemed capable of making responsible decisions with respect to his treatment. Also, contrary to the June 6 assessment, he was deemed not likely to physically injure himself or others, and not likely to inflict severe emotional injury on others.

On June 13, before the 229.10(1)(a) examination could be conducted, J.H. appeared and stipulated to serious mental impairment. He was adjudicated seriously mentally impaired and discharged for outpatient treatment. The parties waived reporting of the hearing. In lieu of a transcript, a statement of the evidence was prepared from a digital recording and submitted, pursuant to Iowa Rule of Appellate Procedure 6.806(3). The statement contains the following exchange:

Court: And have the parties received a copy of what is now two consultation physician's reports from Mental Health Institute?

Oetken: Yes your honor.

Murphy: Yes your honor. ...


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