IN THE MATTER OF THE GUARDIANSHIP and CONSERVATORSHIP OF ROBERT HITES, JR., ROBERT HITES, JR., Ward-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Story County, Bethany J.
ward appeals the order appointing his parents as co-guardians
and co-conservators. AFFIRMED.
Magdalena Reese of Cooper, Goedicke, Reimer & Reese,
P.C., West Des Moines, for appellant.
Johnson of JDJ Law Firm, PLLC, Des Moines, for appellees.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., Greer, J., and Blane, S.J.
Hites, Jr. (Robert) is a twenty-five-year-old man with a high
school diploma and some college course credit. In August
2018, a Lincoln, Nebraska, police officer found him at the
state capitol declaring incoherently he wanted to speak to
the governor. The Nebraska court involuntarily committed
Robert and informed his parents, Robert Sr. and Cheryl.
Providers at the hospital diagnosed Robert with paranoid
Robert was undergoing inpatient mental-health treatment,
Robert Sr. and Cheryl petitioned in the Iowa courts for
temporary and permanent orders appointing them guardians and
conservators. The Iowa district court granted the request
temporarily. Robert sought interlocutory review from the
temporary order. Our supreme court denied review. After
Robert discharged from the Nebraska psychiatric hospital, he
returned to Iowa to live with his parents. They obtained for
him insurance coverage and a case manager and took him to a
mental-health provider for treatment and medication
a hearing, the court found Robert's condition met the
requirements for appointment of a guardian or conservator
under Iowa Code section 633.3(23) (2018). It appointed the
parents as Robert's permanent co-guardians and
co-conservators. In its decision, the court noted Robert
refuses to take his medication and is unable to work. Robert
gets confused easily and cannot concentrate over the loud
voices in his head. The court determined Robert needs someone
to ensure he receives proper treatment, takes his medication,
maintains his insurance coverage, and participates in
mental-health services. The court did not believe Robert
could live independently for any extended period. It also
determined a limited guardianship was not appropriate.
appeals the district court's decision. His parents have
waived filing of a brief.
try actions for the involuntary appointment of guardians and
conservators at law. See Iowa Code § 633.33.
Thus, we review for the correction of legal error.
See Iowa R. App. P. 6.907; In re Conservatorship
of Deremiah, 477 N.W.2d 691, 692 (Iowa Ct. App.1991). We
are bound by the findings of fact if supported by substantial
evidence. Iowa R. App. P. 6.904(3)(a). Substantial evidence
exists if we may reasonably infer the finding from the
record. Deremiah, 477 N.W.2d at 693.
start, we presume the proposed ward is competent. See
Neidermyer v. Neidermyer, 22 N.W.2d 346, 350 (Iowa
1946). The party seeking the guardianship has the burden to
show by clear and convincing evidence the proposed ward is
incompetent. Iowa Code § 633.551(1), (2). A person is
incompetent when they meet one of these conditions:
a. [They] have a decision-making capacity which is so
impaired that the person is unable to care for the
person's personal safety or to attend to or provide for
necessities for the person such as food, shelter, clothing,
or medical care, without which physical injury or illness may
b. [They] have a decision-making capacity which is so
impaired that the person is unable to make, communicate, or
carry out important decisions concerning ...