Martin v. Texas (Tex.App.- Houston [14th Dist.] 2007)(Seymore) Martin v. Texas (Tex.App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 2007)(Seymore)
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Appellant=s Motion for Rehearing Overruled; Reversed and Rendered; Opinion of December 7, 2006 Withdrawn and Substitute Opinion filed March 1, 2007.

 

 

In The

 

Fourteenth Court of Appeals

____________

 

NO. 14-05-00687-CV

____________

 

ROBERT LOUIS MARTIN, Appellant

 

V.

 

THE STATE OF TEXAS, Appellee

 

 

On Appeal from the 232nd District Court

Harris County, Texas

Trial Court Cause No. 877,816

 

 

S U B S T I T U T E   O P I N I O N

We overrule appellant=s motion for rehearing.  Our opinion dated December 7, 2006  is withdrawn, and we issue this substitute opinion.


We are presented with  an accelerated appeal from an order extending inpatient mental  health services for a period of one year.  Appellant,  Robert Louis  Martin, was indicted for  aggravated assault after he stabbed a cab driver multiple times in the chest and back with a knife.  Following a bench trial on March  7, 2002,  the trial court found appellant not guilty  by reason of insanity, and he was committed to the maximum security unit at the North Texas State  Hospital.  The  trial court subsequently extended appellant=s commitment order five  times.  See Martin v. State, No.14‑04‑00689‑CV, 2005 WL 2787033, at *1 (Tex. App.CHouston [14th Dist.] Oct. 27, 2005, no pet.) (mem. op.).  The June 2005 extension forms the basis for this appeal.[1]   In three  issues,  appellant contends (1) the  recommitment order is void because it does not specify which statutory criteria formed the basis for recommitment, (2) the evidence is legally insufficient to support the order, and (3)  the evidence is factually  insufficient to support the order.  We limit our discussion to appellant=s second issue because it is dispositive

I. Applicable Statutory Provisions

Section 574.035 of the Mental Health Code is entitled, AOrder for Extended Mental  Health Services.@ Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035 (Vernon 2003).  Under  574.035 subsection (a), the trial court may order extended inpatient mental health services  if the trier of fact finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the proposed patient meets,  among other requirements, the following criteria:

(1) the proposed patient is mentally ill; and

(2) as a result of that mental illness the proposed patient:

(A) is likely to cause serious harm to himself;


(B) is likely to cause serious harm to others; or

                   (C) is:

(i)  suffering severe and  abnormal mental, emotional, or physical  distress;

(ii)  experiencing substantial mental  or  physical  deterioration of  the proposed patient=s ability to  function  independently,  which  is  exhibited  by  the  proposed  patient=s  inability,  except  for  reasons of  indigence, to  provide for the proposed patient=s basic  needs,  including food,  clothing,  health,  or  safety;  and

(iii)  unable  to  make  a  rational  and  informed  decision  as  to  whether or  not  to  submit to  treatment

Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(a).

Commitment proceedings concerning persons who have been found not guilty by  reason of insanity are civil in nature.  Campbell v.  State,  85 S.W.3d 176,  180 (Tex. 2002).  Former article  46.03  of the  Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, applicable to this case, sets forth the procedure for the insanity defense in criminal prosecutions, hearings, and other  procedures relating to appellant=s acquittal by reason of insanity.  See Act of May 25, 1983,  68th Leg., R.S., ch.  454,  1983  Tex.  Gen.  Laws 2640, 2640B46  (repealed 2005) (current  version at Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. Art. 46C.261 (Vernon Supp. 2006)). Under former  article 46.03 section 4(d)(5), recommitment hearings for persons found not guilty by reason  of insanity must be Aconducted pursuant to the provisions of the Mental Health Code.@ Id.  Relative to the procedural requirements for  conducting recommitment hearings,  former  article 46.03 refers only to the AMental Health Code.@  Id.  The statute does not specify  which sections or subsections are applicable to a recommitment hearing.


The State contends the trial court=s application of the Mental Health Code is limited  by section 574.066, which provides, in part, that a Acourt may not renew an order unless the  court finds that the patient meets the criteria for extended mental health services prescribed  by sections 574.035(a)(1), (2), and (3).@  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.066 (Vernon 2006).  Consequently,  the  State  further  contends section 574.035,  subsection  (g)  does  not  apply  to  a  recommitment hearing conducted pursuant to former article 46.03. Under subsection (g), the  trial Acourt may not make its findings solely from  certificates of medical examination for mental  illness  but  shall  hear testimony.@  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(g) (Vernon 2003).

We disagree with the State=s proposed construction of the Mental Health Code.  The  subsections that follow 574.035(a) complement and augment the trial court=s duties when  determining whether a patient meets the criteria outlined in 574.035(a).  If the trial court  determines that a patient meets the criteria under subsection 574.035(a), then it must specify  the criterion or criteria in subsection 574.035(a)(2) that form the basis for that decision.  See  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(c) (Vernon 2003).  To be Aclear and  convincing@ under subsection 574.035(a), the evidence also must include expert testimony  and evidence of a recent overt act or a continuing pattern of behavior that tends to confirm  (1) the likelihood of serious harm to the proposed patient or others, or (2) proposed patient=s  distress and the deterioration of his ability to function.  See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(e) (Vernon 2003).  The  trial  court may  not  recommit  a patient  unless  appropriate  findings  are  made  and  supported  by  testimony  taken  at  the  hearing.  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(g).   The testimony must include competent medical or psychiatric testimony.  Id.


The Texas Supreme  Court  has  appropriately  distinguished  statutory  requirements  for  commitment proceedings and  court‑ordered mental health services from  recommitment  proceedings conducted pursuant to former article 46.03 section 4(d)(5) of the Texas Code  of Criminal Procedure.  In Campbell v.  State, the court addressed whether sections 574.009  and 574.011 (the requirement that two medical certificates be on file before a commitment  hearing),[2] apply to recommitment hearings conducted pursuant to former article 46.03.  85  S.W.3d at 180.  The court focused on language in former article 46.03 which prescribes that  the  hearing  be Aconducted pursuant to  the  provisions  of  the  Mental  Health Code.@ Id.  (citation omitted).  The court concluded that a hearing authorized under the former article  46.03 section 4(d)(5) Amust comply with those Mental Health provisions pertinent to  conducting commitment hearings.@  Id. at 183 (emphasis in original).  Consequently, the  court held that medical  certificates  described in  sections  574.009  and  574.011  are  not required to be on file prior to a hearing under the former  article  46.03  section 4(d)(5) because they were not pertinent to conducting the commitment hearing.  Id. at 183. The court explained that this requirement made sense in the context of civil commitment because proceedings for court-ordered mental health services involve different concerns and apply to a different class of individuals than proceedings pursuant to former article 46.03 section 4(d)(5).  Id.  Former article 46.03 section 4(d)(5) applies to persons acquitted of a violent  crime by reason of insanity who have been previously committed to a state mental hospital, and the proceedings are brought to determine whether those persons should be released from  their commitment. Id.  In contrast, civil commitment proceedings brought under the Mental  Health  Code  apply  to  individuals  who  have  not  been  afforded  the  added  protections  associated with a proceeding that resulted in acquittal by reason of insanity.  Id.  Therefore,  the  Texas  Supreme Court held  that  the  prerequisite  of two  medical  certificates is  not  pertinent to conducting the hearing pursuant to former article 46.03 section 4(d)(5). Id.


In this case, the State asks us to  apply only those parts of section 574.035 that section  574.066 expressly incorporates and completely disregard the procedural and substantive  requirements in subsections such as subsection (g).  However, following the Texas Supreme Court=Campbell decision, this court has recognized that section 574.035 is pertinent to conducting  a recommitment hearing pursuant to former article 46.03. Campbell v. State, 118 S.W.3d 788,  802 (Tex. App.CHouston [14th Dist.] 2003, no  pet.); see also Evans v. Campbell,  130  S.W.3d 472, 484 (Tex. App.CHouston [14th Dist.] 2004, pet. dism'd) (stating Aarticle 46.03  section 4(d)(5) incorporates the requirements of section 574.035@).

We note that in the area of statutory construction, the doctrine of stare decisis has its  greatest force.  Tooke v. City of Mexia, 197 S.W.3d 325, 342 (Tex. 2006).  Therefore, we will  follow our court=s precedent that section 574.035 is pertinent to conducting a recommitment  hearing.  Evans, 130 S.W.3d at 484; Campbell, 118 S.W. 3d at 802.  Moreover, under  the rules of statutory construction, we must consider the statute as a whole rather than its  isolated provisions.  Helena Chem. Co. v.  Wilkins, 47 S.W.3d 486, 493 (Tex. 2001) (citing Morrison  v.  Chan, 699 S.W.2d 205, 208 (Tex. 1985)). We should not give one provision a  meaning  out  of harmony  or  inconsistent  with  other  provisions,  although  it  might  be  susceptible to such a construction standing alone. Id. (citing Barr v. Bernhard, 562 S.W.2d  844,  849  (Tex.  1978)).  Accordingly,  we  hold that Mental  Health  Code section  574.035, subsection (g) is applicable to recommitment hearings under the former article 46.03 of the  Code of Criminal Procedure.

II.  Certificates of Medical Examination

In his  second  issue,  appellant contends the  trial  court=s order for  recommitment  violates section 574.035(g), which requires  the trial  court's findings  to be based on  evidence other than certificates of medical examination for mental illness.  We agree.

Section 574.035(g) provides, in part, that the trial court may not make its findings  solely from certificates of medical examination for mental illness but shall hear testimony.  Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(g). The reporter=s record from the State=s  case‑in‑chief at the recommitment hearing is less than one page.  The State offered no oral  testimony.  The State offered only one exhibit which it described as follows:

I offer State=s Exhibit No.1 which is the Physician=s Certificate for mental  examination and mental illness signed by David R. Baker, M.D.


Furthermore,  in  the  reporter=s record  of the  recommitment  hearing,  the  court  reporter  certified that the trial court admitted into evidence an attached four‑page State=s Exhibit No.1, Awhich comprises all of the medical  evidence in said  [h]earing.@  Therefore, the only  evidence the State introduced was a single, four‑page certificate of medical examination for  mental illness.

The  form  for  such  a  certificate  is  set  forth  by  statute,  which  provides  that  the  certificate Amust include the detailed reason for each of the examining physician=s opinions  under [section 574.011].@  See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(e).  To fulfill these  statutory requirements, Dr. Baker states in the certificate that the factual  basis  for  his  opinions  is Aset  forth  in  detail  in  the  attached  Exhibit >A= which  is  incorporated herein  by  reference  as  if fully  set  out  verbatim  herein.@  The attached affidavit  is  labeled  Exhibit  A,  and  it  comprises  two  pages  of the  State=s four‑paged  Exhibit  No.1.  Therefore, the  incorporated  document was part of the  medical  certificate.  It is not a distinct  document and has no independent significance.  Although the State=s Exhibit No.1 contains  two  notarized signatures of Dr.  Baker, these dual  signatures do not  transform this  single  exhibit into two separate documents.  Furthermore, the State, the  trial court, and the court reporter all treated these four pages as a single document and a single exhibit. The record and  the unambiguous language of the State=s sole exhibit show that the only evidence the State offered at the recommitment hearing was one four‑page certificate of medical examination for mental illness.


The Legislature specifically prohibited the trial court from basing its findings solely  on certificates of medical examination for mental illness. See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.035(g). Yet, the only evidence in the record is a single certificate of medical  examination for mental illness.  The court did not hear any expert testimony.  Therefore,  the  evidence is legally insufficient to support the trial court=s order.  See Whitaker v. State, Nos.  01‑03‑00576‑CV, 01‑03‑00577‑CV, 2003  WL 22413511, at *2 n.l (Tex. App.CHouston [1st Dist.] Oct.  23, 2003, no pet.) (mem. op.) (stating, as to a second commitment order for  a defendant who had been found incompetent to stand trial for assault, trial court could not  make its findings under applicable section 574.035 based solely on certificates of medical  examination for mental illness). We sustain appellant=s second issue.

Accordingly,  we reverse the trial court=s order renewing its prior order for inpatient  extended mental health services and render an order denying the application for renewal of  the prior order for extended mental health services.

 

 

/s/          Charles W. Seymore

Justice

 

Judgment rendered and Opinion of December 7, 2006 withdrawn and Substitute Opinion filed March 1, 2007.

Panel consists of Justices Hudson, Frost and Seymore

 



[1]  In  April  2006,  the  trial  court  released  appellant  from  inpatient  care  and  signed  an  order for  outpatient services.  However,  under the  collateral consequences exception, this  appeal  is not  moot.  See  Johnstone v. State, 22 S.W.3d 408, 409 n.l (Tex. 2000) (per curiam) (applying mootness doctrine's collateral  consequences exception to temporary mental health commitment orders); Campbell v. State, 68 S.W.3d 747, 753B54 (Tex. App.CHouston [14th Dist.] 2001), aff=d 85 S.W.3d 176 (Tex. 2002).  Furthermore, while  appellant is receiving the outpatient services, the committing court will continue to have jurisdiction over appellant.  Act of May 25, 1983, 68th  Leg., R.S., ch. 454,  1983 Tex. Gen.  Laws 2640, 2646 (repealed 2005) (current  version at Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Ann. Art. 46C.261 (Vernon Supp. 2006)).  If appellant fails to comply  with  his required Aregime or if [appellant=s] condition so deteriorate[s] that out‑patient care  is no  longer  appropriate@ the director of the outpatient facility shall notify the  committing court and appellant will be  brought to  the  committing court to  determine  by hearing whether appellant should  be  remanded to  an  inpatient program.  Id.

[2]  See Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.009 (Vernon 2003); Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. ' 574.011 (Vernon 2003).