IN THE MATTER OF K.G., Alleged to be Seriously Mentally Impaired, K.G., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Dubuque County, Monica
Zrinyi Wittig, Judge.
challenges the civil commitment order issued under Iowa Code
chapter 229 (2019).
Francis J. Lange, Dubuque, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Kraemer, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Bower, C.J., and Potterfield and Greer, JJ.
challenges the district court's order affirming the
magistrate's civil commitment order issued under Iowa
Code chapter 229 (2019). On appeal, K.G. argues (1) the State
failed to meet its burden to prove by clear and convincing
evidence that she was a danger to herself or others due to
her mental illness; (2) the district court erred in not
appropriately conducting a de novo hearing under Iowa Code
section 229.21(3); and (3) the district court erred by taking
judicial notice of two criminal complaints involving K.G. in
violation of K.G.'s rights under the Fifth Amendment to
the United States Constitution.
was involuntarily hospitalized following an altercation
between herself and her husband on February 24, 2019. In the
days before the incident, K.G.'s family had noticed an
alarming change in K.G.'s behavior. She was
"constantly agitated and irrational" and had
started using vulgar and racist language in public. She had
also become paranoid and believed most of her family was
conspiring against her. K.G.'s family tried to convince
her to seek treatment for several days before the
altercation. K.G. had refused.
police report describes the February 24 incident. K.G.'s
husband and son were on the phone with K.G.'s sister
discussing what to do about K.G. K.G. heard their
conversation and became upset. She entered the room and
slapped her husband in the chest. The three went into the
hallway outside the room, where K.G. grabbed a lamp from a
stand and tried to hit her husband with it, only to be
stopped by her son. K.G. then struck her husband with either
a cane or a grabbing tool. K.G.'s husband then went
outside the house to call the police. K.G. followed him out
and tried to hit him with a glass vase but was once again
stopped by her son. The police arrived soon after. The police
report notes K.G. "was making circular statements about
her dislike for her husband and how he is trying to poison
her" when she was taken into custody.
was at first committed to a forty-eight hour hold at the
local hospital but became "too difficult to handle"
for hospital staff and was moved to jail. She denied anything
was wrong with her and refused medication and treatment. K.G.
was eventually examined by the psychiatrist Dr. Lee Berman on
March 1. Dr. Berman diagnosed K.G. with "bipolar type
one most recent episode mania with psychotic features."
sister filed an application for involuntary hospitalization
on February 26. The hearing on the application occurred on
March 1, after K.G. was examined by Dr. Berman. Dr. Berman,
K.G.'s sister, K.G.'s father, and K.G. all testified
at the hearing. Dr. Berman testified K.G. could not make
responsible decisions for her treatment and that she needed
to remain at the hospital "[u]ntil stable" and
noted she would likely be able to move to outpatient
treatment within a week. When asked by the magistrate about
whether K.G. was dangerous, Dr. Berman stated, "Well, if
she-if she wasn't in a stable environment and she could
become worse and more agitated while she's here if we
don't treat this. So there is a possibility of
that." He added K.G.'s condition was
"[s]omething that if you don't treat will continue
to get worse."
sister testified that K.G. had told her, "It has taken
all the strength in me not to kill myself." K.G.'s
father testified K.G. then backtracked on that statement,
saying that she has corrected herself to mean, "I'd
really like to kill [her husband]" and not herself. Both
testified K.G. was paranoid and uncharacteristically vulgar
in the days before the February 24 incident. K.G. testified
last. She insisted her sister was "very, very, very
controlling" and believed her husband was "not only
controlling my mind" but was also controlling "my
son's mind, my family's mind because he can do
hearing this testimony, the magistrate found K.G. to be
seriously mentally impaired and ordered her involuntary
hospitalization. K.G. filed a notice of appeal and requested
a hearing on March 6; a de novo review hearing took place on
March 29. At the hearing, K.G.'s sister and father
testified. Dr. Berman did not testify but submitted a March
13 progress report to the district court. Over K.G.'s
objection, the ...