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In the Interest of JAD
North Dakota Supreme Court
492 N.W.2d 82 (1992)
JAD (defendant) traveled from the southern United States to North Dakota, arriving in the summer. JAD was homeless and mentally ill, and he sometimes sought help from local organizations and state agencies to get food and shelter. On at least one occasion, JAD declined to use a shelter offered by a caseworker. On another occasion, JAD threw away supposedly good food because he could not remember where he got it and whether it was safe to eat. A civil petition was filed to have JAD involuntarily committed to a state hospital for mental-health treatment. Under North Dakota law, a person could be involuntarily committed to a mental-health facility after a showing of clear and convincing evidence that the person was (1) mentally ill and (2) a danger to himself, others, or property. At the hearing, there was clear and convincing evidence that JAD had a mental illness, satisfying the first element. For the second element, there was no evidence that JAD was likely to be a danger to other people or property. The primary concern was that JAD might be a danger to himself if he did not appreciate North Dakota’s potentially severe winter conditions and failed to seek appropriate shelter. Also, because JAD was homeless, there was concern that he might not be able to keep himself fed. The court found that these concerns were enough to involuntarily commit JAD to a state hospital for up to 90 days of mental-health treatment. JAD appealed the commitment order.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Vande Walle, J.)
Concurrence (Erickstad, C.J.)
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