IN THE MATTER OF D.B., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, D.B., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, John G.
appeals from the district court's order finding him to be
seriously mentally impaired.
A. Henkelvig of Henkelvig Law, Danville, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Witte Kraemer,
Assistant Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Potterfield and Tabor,
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
appeals an involuntary civil commitment order. He contends
the State failed to prove he was "seriously mentally
Code section 229.1(20) (2017) sets forth the following
definition of "seriously mentally impaired":
(20) "Seriously mentally impaired" or "serious
mental impairment" describes the condition of a person
with mental illness and because of that illness lacks
sufficient judgment to make responsible decisions with
respect to the person's hospitalization or treatment, and
who because of that illness meets any of the following
a. Is likely to physically injure the person's self or
others if allowed to remain at liberty without treatment.
b. Is likely to inflict serious emotional injury on members
of the person's family or others who lack reasonable
opportunity to avoid contact with the person with mental
illness if the person with mental illness is allowed to
remain at liberty without treatment.
c. Is unable to satisfy the person's needs for
nourishment, clothing, essential medical care, or shelter so
that it is likely that the person will suffer physical
injury, physical debilitation, or death.
Iowa Code § 229.1(20). D.B. concedes he has "a long
history of paranoid delusions" and a diagnosis of
schizophrenia. He also concedes he "was not taking his
medication as prescribed." He argues the State failed to
prove a likelihood he would "physically injure"
himself "or others if allowed to remain at liberty
without treatment." In his view, "the record does
not clearly" establish this dangerousness element.
danger the person[s] pose to [themselves] or others must be
evidenced by a 'recent overt act, attempt or
threat.'" In re J.P.,574 N.W.2d 340, 344
(Iowa 1998) (quoting In re Mohr,383 N.W.2d 539, 542
(Iowa 1986)). "In the context of civil commitment . . .
an 'overt act' connotes past aggressive behavior or
threats by the respondent manifesting the probable commission
of a dangerous act upon himself or ...