IN THE MATTER OF K.S., Alleged to Be Seriously Mentally Impaired, K.S., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Iowa District Court for Johnson County, Kevin
prison inmate appeals the district court order finding he is
seriously mentally impaired and requires treatment.
Jonathon Muñoz of Nidey, Erdahl, Fisher, Pilkington
& Meier PLC, Cedar Rapids, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Gretchen Kraemer, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee State.
Considered by Doyle, P.J., and Tabor and Schumacher, JJ.
Iowa Department of Corrections (DOC) successfully sought an
involuntary hospitalization order against K.S. after he
destroyed property and fought with another offender. On
appeal, K.S. contends the record does not support the
district court's finding he would be likely to pose a
danger to himself or others if allowed to remain at liberty
(within the prison system) without treatment. See
Iowa Code § 229.1(20) (2019). Because the State offered
clear and convincing evidence K.S. suffered from a serious
mental impairment, we affirm the involuntary hospitalization
Facts and Prior Proceedings
acknowledges when he was civilly committed in 2015, doctors
diagnosed him as having schizophrenia. He complains
"they shot me up with so much Haldol and Seroquel that I
was drooling on myself when I was in jail." K.S. claims
he "got [himself] off of their psychosis
medications" and he has been "fine ever
staff beg to differ. Psychiatrist Gary Keller reviewed
K.S.'s mental-health status when he arrived at the
reception center at the Iowa Medical Classification Center
(Oakdale) in April 2016. K.S. was starting a sixteen-year
sentence on his convictions for homicide by vehicle and
possession of marijuana. Because K.S. initially did well on
medication, the DOC transferred him to the minimum security
correctional facility at Mount Pleasant. In December 2018,
K.S. told staff there his mind was "running wild,"
and other offenders noted K.S. was talking "crazy
stuff." The staff reported K.S. quit all his medication
except citalopram, which is used to treat depression.
January 2019, other offenders grew angry with K.S. for
"messing with the antennas on the televisions disrupting
viewing." On January 28, he tore down one of the
antennas, which lead to increased tension on the unit. Two
days later, K.S. pulled down another TV antenna and ended up
in a physical altercation with another offender. In light of
the downward spiral in his mental health, the DOC transferred
K.S. back to Oakdale. Upon his return, K.S. told the medical
staff he was not interested in taking any different
medications. In his examination, Dr. Keller found K.S. to be
delusional and lacking insight into the need to stabilize his
psychosis. Dr. Keller filed a report in February 2019 finding
K.S. was likely to physically injure himself or others if not
involuntarily hospitalized for treatment purposes. Dr. Keller
testified K.S. continued to be "irritable and
unfocused" when he did not take appropriate medications.
Dr. Keller also described K.S. as "argumentative and
uncooperative" with DOC staff.
the judicial hospital referee and the district court accepted
Dr. Keller's findings. K.S. now appeals from the district
court's order finding he is seriously mentally
Scope and Standard of Review
review challenges to the sufficiency of the evidence
supporting civil commitment proceedings for legal error.
In re B.B., 826 N.W.2d 425, 428 (Iowa 2013). Here,
the State must prove its claims by clear and convincing
evidence. See Iowa Code § 229.13(1); In re
J.P., 574 N.W.2d 340, 342 (Iowa 1998). Clear and
convincing evidence "means that there must be no serious
or substantial doubt about the correctness of a particular
conclusion drawn from the evidence." J.P., 574
N.W.2d at 342 (quoting In re L.G., 532 N.W.2d 478,