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People ex rel. R.C.

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fourth Division

June 27, 2019

The PEOPLE of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee IN the INTEREST OF R.C., Respondent-Appellant.

          As Modified on Denial of Rehearing 7/25/2019

          As Modified on Denial of Rehearing July 25, 2019

Page 1230

          Pueblo County District Court No. 19MH81, Honorable Jill S. Mattoon, Judge

          Cynthia Mitchell, County Attorney, Kate H. Shafer, Special Assistant County Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellee

         The Law Firm of John L. Rice, John L. Rice, Pueblo, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant

         OPINION

          LIPINSKY, JUDGE.

         [¶ 1] Appellant, R.C., appeals the district court’s order authorizing mental health personnel to medicate him involuntarily. We reverse.

          I. Background

         [¶ 2] R.C. was committed to the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP) after being found incompetent to proceed in a criminal case. A CMHIP staff psychiatrist, Dr. Lennart Abel, diagnosed R.C. with bipolar disorder mania with psychosis.

         [¶ 3] Following R.C.’s assault of a staff member at CMHIP, the People filed a petition seeking a court order authorizing the administration of involuntary medication. At a hearing on the petition, Dr. Abel testified that R.C. was voluntarily taking Zyprexa. Dr. Abel opined that R.C. would not continue to

Page 1231

take this drug voluntarily because he had previously refused to take medication.

         [¶ 4] Nonetheless, the People sought authorization to medicate R.C. involuntarily with Olanzapine and five other drugs: Haldol, Abilify, Lithium, Depakote, and Clozapine (the Six Medications).[1] Dr. Abel testified that R.C. "can be treated with Zyprexa but I’m not sure if that would be the ...


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