IN THE MATTER OF D.M. Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, D.M., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Des Moines County, Mark E.
appeals the court's ruling of serious mental impairment.
Dial of Law Office of Curtis Dial, Keokuk, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Kraemer, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, PRESIDING JUDGE.
challenges the trial court's finding of serious mental
impairment, claiming there is insufficient evidence that he
poses a risk to his own or others' safety. In light of
D.M.'s recent suicidal ideations, refusal to
follow-through with mental-health treatment, a telephoned
threat to a former employer, and the recent purchase of AR15
rifle, we find clear and convincing evidence to support the
court's finding that D.M. poses a risk to himself or
others. We therefore affirm.
August 8, 2018, D.M.'s septuagenarian parents sought
assistance from law enforcement because D.M. was suicidal and
had purchased a weapon. D.M. was hospitalized and evaluated.
evaluating psychiatrist, Dr. Amanda Winter, submitted an
initial report on August 13 in which she stated: (1) D.M. was
experiencing a major depressive disorder, alcohol abuse, and
had antisocial and narcissistic personality traits that
contributed to the risk of impulsive acts of harm to himself
or others; (2) D.M. was not capable of making responsible
decisions with respect to treatment; and (3) based on
D.M.'s self-reporting, he was not then likely to harm
himself or others. However, on April 14-the day of the
involuntary commitment hearing- Dr. Winter submitted an
amended report. Dr. Winter reported the need for more time to
gather information and evaluate D.M.'s likelihood of
harming himself or others, stating, "[B]ased on new
information that continues coming to light, it is more and
more likely that he is not being truthful about his intents
hearing on the allegations of serious mental impairment, Dr.
Winter testified she spoke to several sources who indicated
D.M. had "significant suicidal ideation with a plan to
use the gun to kill himself." D.M. had been engaged in
psychiatric care with Dr. Sanchez and had agreed he would not
purchase firearms but had then purchased an
AR15. Dr. Winter testified that upon learning of
the purchase, Dr. Sanchez did not feel comfortable having
D.M. as a patient. Dr. Winter further testified that
"[d]ue to the severity of [D.M.'s] depression, along
with the alcohol abuse and the effects of his wife's
death," she believed that if left untreated, D.M. would
be a danger to himself or others. She stressed D.M's
"behavior is quite impulsive," and those with
"poor impulse control are always left at increased risk
for harming themselves or others due to unforeseeable
circumstances and unpredictable stressors that come up."
Brett Grimshaw testified concerning a report received just
before D.M.'s hospitalization from D.M.'s former
employer that D.M. had called and made threats. D.M.'s
telephone call prompted the employer to have an armed deputy
on the property and to request law enforcement provide
security. Lieutenant Grimshaw testified law enforcement
provided the employer active-shooter training that day as a
result of D.M.'s call because "[t]hey demanded
it" because many employees "didn't want to come
sister testified that though D.M. was "saddened" by
his wife's recent death, he was not a danger to anyone.
However, she testified she was not aware D.M. had recently
purchased a firearm, that their mother had reported her
concern for officers' safety should they go to D.M.'s
house, or that D.M. was discharged from treatment with Dr.
court found clear and convincing evidence supported a finding
that D.M. was seriously mentally impaired under Iowa Code
chapter 229 (2018). The court noted Dr. Winters testified she
believed D.M. was a danger to himself or others-though she
"then indicate[d] she doesn't have sufficient
statements before her or sufficient outside information"
to determine whether D.M. was being truthful when he told her
"I'm not a danger to myself or I'm not going to
do anything." Still, the court concluded:
In this particular case, that outside information tips the
balance because it's very clear that that information, if
true, and I think it is true, that you made threats, put an
entire business on alert of you coming after them, possibly
with a gunman, so for that reason I believe that each of ...