IN THE MATTER OF M.A., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, M.A., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, George L.
Stigler, Judge. Respondent appeals from a district
court's order of involuntary commitment. VACATED AND
Andrew Cederdahl, Waterloo, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
appeals from the district court's order of involuntary
commitment. He argues (1) the district court in Black Hawk
County did not have subject matter jurisdiction because M.A.
resided in and was located in a different county, (2)there
was not substantial evidence M.A. was a legitimate threat to
others, and (3)the applicant claiming the need for the
commitment proceedings had insufficient knowledge upon which
the court could base its ruling. Finding the first issue
dispositive, we vacate and remand.
Backgrounds Facts and Proceedings
mother filed an application with the Black Hawk County Clerk
of Court alleging M.A. was seriously mentally impaired.
M.A.'s ex-wife filed the supporting affidavit, which
stated M.A. resided in Black Hawk County but did not identify
a street or city. The application and affidavit both asserted
M.A. suffered from a mental illness and had made threats of
harm on Facebook directed at people in Black Hawk County.
Based on the application and the affidavit, the district
court entered an order for immediate custody to have M.A.
detained at Covenant Hospital in Waterloo. On May 20, 2016,
M.A. was found by police in Cedar Rapids and was transported
to a location where an officer of the Black Hawk County
Sheriff's Office took custody of M.A. and delivered him
to Covenant Hospital. On May 25, a hospitalization referee
held a hearing. At the commencement of M.A.'s testimony,
he told the court he lived in Cedar Rapids and had for two
years. During his attorney's direct examination of him,
this exchange occurred:
Q. Because they don't live with you?
A. No. But you- (inaudible) and another thing on the
affidavit it says Black Hawk County. I live in Linn County.
How you going to take a commitment-
Q. All right. Let's try to answer my question. Okay.
hearing all the testimony, the referee ordered M.A. committed
for an inpatient psychiatric evaluation and treatment at
filed a written notice of appeal of the referee's
decision, which recited he lived in Cedar Rapids and was
apprehended in Linn County and transported to Black Hawk
County. The notice also stated: "Committal orders[']
jurisdiction are just county wide." The appeal hearing
was held on May 31. The record at the district court shows
M.A. questioned how the court could proceed when he was a
resident of Linn County and was taken into custody in Linn
County. This exchange occurred during the court's lengthy
direct examination of M.A.:
[M.A.]: Your Honor, I had no intentions on coming back to
Waterloo. They came down to Linn County and got me. What is
the jurisdiction on committals? I had no intentions on coming
to Black Hawk ...