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In re Necessity for Hospitalization of Dakota K.

Supreme Court of Alaska

August 28, 2015

In the Matter of the Necessity for the Hospitalization of DAKOTA K

Appeal from the Superior Court of the State of Alaska, Third Judicial District, Anchorage, Andrew Guidi, Judge. Superior Court No. 3AN-13-03006 PR.

Sharon Barr, Assistant Public Defender, and Quinlan Steiner, Public Defender, Anchorage, for Appellant.

D akota K. Jonathan A. Woodman, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Anchorage, and Craig W. Richards, Attorney General, Juneau, for Appellee State of Alaska.

Fabe, Chief Justice, Winfree, Stowers, Maassen, and Bolger, Justices.

OPINION

Page 1069

STOWERS, Justice.

I. INTRODUCTION

Dakota K.[1] appeals a 30-day involuntary psychiatric commitment. Although his appeal is moot, Dakota argues the collateral consequences exception to the mootness doctrine applies. Under that exception we have presumed collateral consequences from a respondent's first involuntary commitment. In this case the parties dispute whether the State or the respondent has the burden to prove the existence of prior involuntary commitments. We hold that this burden rests on the respondent, who must make some evidentiary showing that the commitment was his first in order to raise the presumption of collateral consequences.

II. FACTS AND PROCEEDINGS

In December 2013 two Alaska Psychiatric Institute (API) mental health professionals petitioned the superior court for a 30-day commitment of Dakota K. The following day Magistrate Judge Una S. Gandbhir held a hearing at API. During the hearing Dakota's father, Daniel, testified that Dakota had gone to graduate school in Iceland and had been living with him since Dakota's return in August 2012. By the following year their relationship had become contentious, and shortly after Thanksgiving Daniel told Dakota that he would have to make alternative living arrangements.

Daniel testified that Dakota then went on a " reign of terror." According to Daniel, Dakota came to his apartment several times, knocked on the door, and before Daniel answered -- Daniel uses a mobility scooter and it took time to cross the room -- Dakota rammed the door with a heavy metal tool or a cart. In another incident Dakota threatened Daniel with a crescent wrench.[2] Dakota once removed the key from Daniel's

Page 1070

mobility scooter, leaving him immobilized. Finally, Dakota sent Daniel " a hundred . . . texts" asking Daniel whether he wanted to die and saying that Daniel did not deserve to live.

Daniel obtained a restraining order against Dakota. Nevertheless, Dakota repeatedly returned to Daniel's apartment in violation of that order. The police arrested Dakota after one of these visits. Daniel testified that Dakota's recent behavior had been " extremely abnormal" and was " downright scary." He further testified that Dakota had psychiatric issues as an adolescent, once ...


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