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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:On Dec. 6, 1996, Marlin Deandre House killed his mother by stabbing her with a kitchen knife 93 times. A grand jury indicted House for her murder. In August 1997, a psychologist concluded that House suffered from a mental illness that included “paranoid ideation and auditory hallucinations.” After a bench trial on Nov. 3, 1997, the trial court found House not guilty by reason of insanity. A month later, authorities committed House to Vernon State Hospital for inpatient treatment. In January 1999, following a physician’s recommendation, authorities transferred House to Rusk State Hospital. Since the transfer, the trial court annually found that House met the requirements for inpatient recommitment. House appealed the most recent recommitment order signed on Nov. 28, 2005. In three issues, House contended that: legally and factually insufficient evidence supported the Nov. 28 recommitment order; and the recommitment order was void, because it did not specify which statutory criteria formed the basis for recommitment. HOLDING:Reversed and rendered. Under Texas Mental Health Code �574.066, a court may renew an order for inpatient mental health services if it finds the patient meets the criteria for involuntary commitment set forth in �574.035(a). Section 574.035(a) provides that a court may order extended inpatient mental health services if the trier of fact first finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that, among other requirements, the proposed patient is mentally ill. The trier of fact must then also find that as a result of the proposed patient’s mental illness, he or she is likely to cause serious harm to himself; is likely to cause serious harm to others; or is: 1. suffering severe and abnormal mental, emotional, or physical distress; 2. experiencing substantial mental or physical deterioration of his or her ability to function independently, which is exhibited by his or her inability, except for reasons of indigence, to provide for the his or her basic needs, including food, clothing, health, or safety; and 3. rendered unable to make a rational and informed decision as to whether or not to submit to treatment. The trial court must specify which of the criteria under �574.035(a) forms the basis for recommitment. To be clear and convincing under �574.035(a), the evidence must include expert testimony and, unless waived, 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. the proposed patient’s distress and the deterioration of the proposed patient’s ability to function. In addition, in a legal sufficiency review when the burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence, the court stated that it must consider all the evidence in the light most favorable to the finding to determine whether a reasonable trier of fact could have formed a firm belief or conviction as to the truth of the allegations sought to be established. House argued that the evidence offered by the state only showed House is mentally ill but did not satisfy the clear-and-convincing requirement of a recent overt act or continuing pattern of behavior tending to confirm the likelihood of serious harm to House or others. Specifically, House contended that Dr. Robert Altschuler’s assertions were based on vague behaviors such as House’s “guardedness,” “lack of insight,” and “paranoid ideation,” which at best proved that House is mentally ill. The court acknowledged that House is mentally ill. But evidence showing only that an individual is mentally ill and in need of hospitalization, the court stated, does not meet the statutory requirements for confinement. Because the court found no evidence of a recent overt act or a continuing pattern of behavior as contemplated by the Mental Health Code, the court found that legally insufficient evidence supported the renewal of the commitment order. In other words, the evidence presented by the state did not meet the clear-and-convincing standard set forth in �574.035(e), the court held. The court reversed the trial court’s order renewing the prior order for inpatient extended mental health services and rendered judgment denying the state’s application for renewal of the prior order for extended mental health services. OPINION:Seymore, J.; Hedges, C.J., and Seymore, J. DISSENT:Yates, J. “Because I believe the evidence is legally sufficient to show recent overt acts or a continuing pattern of behavior that tend to confirm the likelihood that appellant will be a danger to himself or others, I respectfully dissent. . . . The evidence presented at the hearing goes beyond mere evidence of appellant’s denial of his mental illness. Appellant exhibited a continuing pattern of denial that his illness caused him to commit a brutal crime in addition to exhibiting decompensation and suicidal ideation.”

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