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Evidence was sufficient to justify involuntary medication order

Winnebago County v. M.O.S., 2015AP2619, District 2, 6/15/16 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The circuit court’s oral findings at the conclusion of M.O.S.’s trial didn’t track the statutory language in either § 51.61(1)(g)4.a. or 4.b., but no matter: On the standard involuntary medication order form the court checked the box corresponding to the standard under subdivision 4.b. (¶¶4, 7), and the evidence presented at trial is sufficient to support an order under that standard, despite M.O.S’s partial understanding that his delusions are caused by mental illness.

¶8   …. In [Outagamie County v.] Melanie L., discussing the language of § 51.61(1)(g)4.b. “phrase by phrase,” our supreme court interpreted it to mean that a person, to a considerable degree, lacks the necessary ability, capacity, or power, to make a connection between an expressed understanding of the benefits and risks of medication and the person’s own mental illness in order to make a choice based on an informed understanding of the viable options with respect to medication or treatment. Melanie L., 349 Wis. 2d 148, ¶¶68-72, 76-78. Where a “person cannot recognize that he or she has a mental illness, logically the person cannot establish a connection between his or her expressed understanding of the benefits and risks of medication and the person’s own illness.” Id., ¶72; see Winnebago Cty. v. B.C., No. 2015AP1192-FT, unpublished slip op. ¶20 (WI App Oct. 14, 2015) (testimony that respondent did not believe he was suffering from a mental illness supported involuntary medication order under § 51.61(1)(g)4.b.). Such is the case here. M.O.S. denies that he has any mental illness and, with the exception of his delusion about a chip having been put in his shoulder, believes his delusions are true. We are not persuaded that because M.O.S. was able to recognize one thought as a delusion that he no longer satisfies the statutory standard. As the supreme court recognized in Melanie L., “a person … may be able to acknowledge ‘issues’ and rattle off side effects without being truly able to apply his or her ‘understanding’ to the person’s own problem.” Melanie L., 349 Wis. 2d 148, ¶74. In the same vein, while M.O.S. was able to recognize that the medication has helped him and that one thought was a delusion, he still did not want to continue taking the medication and without articulating any basis for terminating it.

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