IN THE MATTER OF J.S., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, J.S., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Polk County, Carla T.
appeals two involuntary civil commitment orders.
Phelan of Borseth Law Office, Altoona, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Kraemer, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Vaitheswaran, P.J., and Doyle and Bower, JJ.
VAITHESWARAN, PRESIDING JUDGE.
consolidated appeal of two involuntary civil commitment
orders, J.S. contends the district court erred in (1) failing
to terminate the proceedings and dismiss the applications on
receipt of a physician's report and (2) prohibiting him
from possessing firearms.
Background Facts and Proceedings
individual filed an application alleging J.S. had a serious
mental impairment pursuant to Iowa Code section 229.6 (2018).
According to the application, J.S. threatened "he would
kill an ex-girlfriend, her children, [and] family, [and] also
would kill [the applicant and her] family if [she] turned him
in." The applicant characterized J.S. as
"delusional, in a state of psychosis." The
supporting affidavit stated J.S. had post-traumatic stress
disorder based on "multiple blows to the head throughout
his 11 years serving in the army." The affidavit further
stated J.S. used substances "to try to cope" and
was "prone to much anger and rage when substances [were]
same day, another application was filed alleging J.S. to be a
person with a substance-related disorder pursuant to Iowa
Code section 125.75. The affiant attested that when J.S. used
certain substances, he "worked himself up into such
anger and rage that he threaten[ed] lethal harm to those he
[was] upset with."
reports in both cases found J.S. "capable of making
responsible decisions with respect to his . . .
hospitalization or treatment."
hearing on the applications was held on June 29, 2018, two
days before a change in the law governing commitments under
chapters 125 and 229. Following the hearing, a magistrate
acknowledged the physician's testimony that J.S.
possessed judgmental capacity but concluded based on the
totality of the record that J.S. had a serious mental
impairment and a substance-related disorder. The magistrate
committed J.S. to inpatient treatment for his serious mental
impairment and ordered outpatient treatment for his
substance-related disorder. The magistrate also ordered J.S.
not to "ship, possess, receive, transport, or cause the
transport of any firearms or ammunition." See
18 U.S.C. 922(g)(4). The order was filed on June 29, 2018.
6, 2018, pursuant to a periodic review, a second magistrate
discharged and terminated the involuntary proceedings based
on the physicians' reports that J.S. possessed judgmental
capacity. The magistrate retained the firearms prohibition.
appealed the orders. Following a de novo trial, the district
court dismissed the chapter 229 application based on the
physician's opinion that J.S. had sufficient judgment to
make responsible decisions with respect to his
hospitalization or treatment. The court retained the firearms
prohibition. With respect to the chapter 125 application, the
court found J.S. to be a person with a ...