Was the inmate appointed to run the asylum?

In the best interest and protection of R.M. (Published Memo): Civil commitment case under Tex. Health & Safety Code Ann. § 574.034(a) (Vernon 2003).   R.M.  threatened his brother.  When the police came, he threatened them, too.  He was taken into custody and given a psychiatric evaluation.  The doctor then sought to have R.M. sent to Rusk State Hospital.

R.M. had some interesting things to say to the doctor that night.  Turns out R.M.’s a Texas Ranger, and Governor Bush named him superintendent of the Rusk State Hospital.  At a hearing the next morning, the doctor testified to these statements, and R.M.’s erratic and aggressive behavior.

That’s evidence supporting the application for a 90 day commitment.

R.M. points out that, at the hearing, he admitted that he was bipolar.  He promised to take his meds.  He denied the bit about running the assylum.  He explained that his claims of being a Ranger, while admittedly misleading, were truthful (R.M. is a graduate of Kilgore College, and in that sense, is a Ranger).  All-in-all, R.M. tried to talk his way out of going to Rusk State Hospital.  That’s actually a sensible thing to do.

But the trial court had ruled against him.  R.M. would have liked a “do-over” before in the Tyler court.  He didn’t get it.  Because of the standards of review on his legal and factual sufficiency points, the Tyler court just looks to see if there was evidence to support the trial court’s decision.  In the words of the opinion:

The trial court was entitled to disbelieve R.M.’s testimony and disregard evidence contrary to the State’s position. See id. at 27. Further, R.M.’s testimony does not negate the evidence that he is unable to have his needs met in the community. In light of the entire record, we cannot say that the trial court could not reasonably form a firm belief or conviction that R.M. is distressed and that his ability to function has deteriorated, thereby requiring further inpatient mental health services.

R.M. may not get to run the place, but he’s going there.

P.S., an anonymous poster once pointed out that all civil decisions are published.  True. But I didn’t want to get into a discussion of the Texas Rules of Appellate Procedure and the difference between the publication standards for civil and criminal cases.  I figured most trial practitioners and the general public would find the blog more accessible if I used a common nomenclature. Apologies to my non-lawyer readers.  My blog is listed on the new website for the Appellate Section of the State Bar of Texas, and there are all sorts of fellow appellate geeks who may be looking at TylerAppeals for the first time.

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