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In re M.F.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

September 13, 2017

IN THE MATTER OF M.F., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, M.F., Respondent-Appellant.

         Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Black Hawk County, Bradley J. Harris, Judge.

         A respondent challenges his involuntary commitment under Iowa Code chapter 229 (2016).

          Kathryn J. Mahoney, Waterloo, for appellant.

          Thomas J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen W. Kraemer, Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.

          Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Potterfield and Mullins, JJ.

          VOGEL, Presiding Judge.

         M.F. contends the district court wrongly determined he was seriously mentally impaired and required involuntary hospitalization. Specifically, he asserts the State did not present clear and convincing evidence that he posed a physical or emotional danger to himself or others. Because we find substantial evidence in the record to support the district court's finding, we affirm.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings

         Beginning in high school, M.F.'s parents began to notice challenges with M.F.'s mental health. Eventually, M.F. quit school, quit a full-time job, attempted suicide twice, and started sending conspiracy mail to the F.B.I. M.F. was incarcerated for three years for making false threats to the federal government.

         M.F. was released from federal prison in January 2016. After approximately seven months of good behavior, M.F. received a large disability check and began to use the money to buy drugs. M.F. began to verbally attack family, make threats to bank employees regarding a conspiracy to deny him inheritance money, and provoked a wrestling match with his father.

         On December 1, 2016, M.F.'s father filed an application for order of involuntary hospitalization. A judicial hospitalization referee entered an order pursuant to Iowa Code section 229.13 (2016) finding M.F. to be seriously mentally impaired and ordering him to be committed to a psychiatric unit.

         M.F. appealed the referee's order to the district court. A hearing was held on December 5, 2016. The district court took judicial notice of the physician's report and received as evidence an updated report by a second physician as to M.F.'s current condition. The district court entered its ruling on December 27, concluding:

The court finds that the contention that the respondent is seriously mentally impaired has been sustained by clear and ...

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