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In re C.C.

Court of Appeals of Iowa

May 2, 2018

IN THE MATTER OF C.C., Alleged to Be a Person with a Substance-Related Disorder, C.C., Appellant.

          Appeal from the Iowa District Court for Woodbury County, John D. Ackerman, Judge.

         C.C. appeals from the district court order finding he is a person with a substance-related disorder and placing him in outpatient treatment pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 125 (2017).

          Zachary S. Hindman of Mayne, Arneson, Hindman, Hisey & Daane, Sioux City, for appellant.

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

          Heard by Vogel, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.

          DOYLE, Judge.

         C.C. appeals from the district court order finding he is a person with a substance-related disorder and placing him in outpatient treatment pursuant to Iowa Code chapter 125 (2017). He contends the application should have been dismissed because a commitment hearing was not held within five days of the court's order for immediate custody in violation of Iowa Code section 125.81. He also claims his counsel provided ineffective assistance by stipulating that he is a person with a substance-related disorder.

         I. Background Facts and Proceedings.

         On April 21, 2017, an application alleging C.C. to be a person with a substance-related disorder was filed in the district court. The application alleged that C.C. has a "[h]istory of drug use as evidenced by recent irrational & delusional behavior" and stated C.C. was using methamphetamine. The application requested that C.C. be taken into immediate custody and brought to a hospital for evaluation. An affidavit filed in support of the application stated C.C. "uses meth & other drugs, " "gets very agitated, " and "exhibits harmful behavior." Specifically, the affidavit alleged that C.C. had thrown a hammer at his wife, carried a machete around, threatened to kill himself and others, threatened to burn down his house, destroyed household items, and smashed walls, doors, furniture, and windows.

         On the same day the application was filed, the district court entered an order for immediate custody. The order provided that C.C. could be discharged following the physician's examination if the physician concluded C.C. was not likely to harm himself or others if discharged. The court also scheduled a commitment hearing for April 27.

         On April 21, a deputy sheriff took C.C. into custody and transported him to a medical facility. C.C. underwent an examination on April 22. The physician's report of examination, which was filed on April 24, diagnosed C.C. with a substance-related disorder and found C.C. was likely to injure himself or others if allowed to remain at liberty without treatment, citing his history of domestic abuse. However, the report also found C.C. did not present an "imminent risk" and could be released to the custody of a relative or friend and evaluated on an outpatient basis. The report recommended C.C. complete the scheduled substance-abuse evaluation and follow through with the recommended treatment.

         The applicants failed to appear at the April 27 commitment hearing. The State requested a continuance, and C.C. moved to dismiss the application. The court granted the State's request and continued the hearing to May 4. The court's order noted C.C. had been discharged from the hospital and was no longer detained in custody.

         On May 3, C.C. requested the court continue the hearing to allow him to obtain a second medical opinion on whether he met the criteria for commitment. The State consented to the continuance, and the court rescheduled the commitment hearing for May 18.

         C.C.'s second examination was scheduled for May 16. Due to a work conflict, C.C. rescheduled the examination for May 22. Because the rescheduled examination would take place four days after the commitment hearing, C.C. again asked the court to continue the hearing. ...


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