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In re Commitment of C.D.A.

April 3, 2008

I/M/O COMMITMENT OF C.D.A.


On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. CUSU-418-07.

Per curiam.

RECORD IMPOUNDED

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued March 12, 2008

Before Judges Cuff, Lihotz and Simonelli.

Appellant C.D.A. appeals from the July 18, 2007 order involuntarily committing him to the Ann Klein Forensic Center (Ann Klein) pursuant to N.J.S.A. 30:4-27.15a. We reverse.

C.D.A. was sentenced to a six-year term of imprisonment on possession of a controlled dangerous substance and resisting arrest charges. Defendant became assaultive while in prison.

As a result, he was placed on medication and transferred to the prison psychiatric unit in August 2006. On June 25, 2007, C.D.A. was temporarily involuntarily committed to Ann Klein.

On July 18, 2007, the trial judge held an initial civil commitment hearing. C.D.A.'s treating psychiatrist, Mahmood Ghahramani, M.D., was the State's only witness. The doctor testified that C.D.A. suffers from schizoaffective disorder compounded with a history of alcohol and marijuana abuse. Regarding C.D.A.'s behavior during an examination two days before the hearing, the doctor testified as follows:

The main problem is that he easily gets angered. He's just preoccupied his -- with his agenda that he has served his time and he just wants to go home, and he's not volunteer[ing] or is not able to discuss his psychiatric problem which prompted him to be treated at prison and also forced medication[.]

[H]e's not able to discuss the problems that he has[.]

And he becomes irritable, angered and loud and to the point that I just want to go home, I need my freedom, and he's not, you know -- he's not communicating with me in a kind of rational way and to the point that he became so loud that the officer in the room had to move close to me because of actually giving signal that he might act out.

The doctor admitted that C.D.A. never verbally or physically threatened or assaulted him, and was compliant with his medication and treatment. Nevertheless, the doctor opined that as a result of C.D.A.'s past assaultive behavior, he presents a danger to others.

C.D.A. testified that he understood he had a mental illness and would continue taking his medication after discharge. C.D.A.'s mother testified that C.D.A. would live with her, she would assist in monitoring his medication, and that he has the possibility of ...


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