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Threats of violence sufficient to order involuntary commitment

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Although an Indianapolis man never harmed another individual, his persistent threats of violence were sufficient to support his involuntary commitment to a mental health facility.

The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court in In the Matter of the Commitment of T.K. v. Department of Veterans Affairs, 49A05-1303-MH-100. It concluded the evidence showed that without treatment, T.K. was a danger to others and upheld the order for regular commitment to ensure T.K. received the needed long-term treatment.

T.K. appealed the trial court’s order for involuntary commitment on the grounds the evidence was insufficient. He conceded he had made “colorful verbal threats” but there was no evidence that he “has ever followed through with any assaultive, violent or dangerous behavior.”

The Court of Appeals rejected his argument. It found his behavior - which included more than 25 threatening phone calls that T.K. made in one week to Adult and Child, Inc., and the agency staff’s consideration that he was hostile, actively psychotic and delusional – was sufficient for the trial court to find him dangerous.

Further, pointing to prior court decisions, the Court of Appeals stated Indiana precedent indicates that the trial court did not have to wait until T.K. acted upon his threats before finding him dangerous.

The Court of Appeals also upheld the finding that a “regular commitment” which is the most restrictive form of involuntary commitment, was warranted. In particular, it noted T.K.’s prior commitments and his need for inpatient treatment followed by outpatient assistance.  
 

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