In re Benny M.

After being found unfit to stand trial on a charge of domestic battery against his mother, Benny was admitted involuntarily to the Elgin Mental Health Center. He was medicated involuntarily and later found fit to stand trial. Benny was transferred to the jail, stopped taking his psychotropic medication, was again found unfit to stand trial and returned to Elgin. The state sought to administer psychotropic medication involuntarily. During one day of a two-day hearing, Benny was physically restrained. His attorney asked for the shackles to be removed. The security officer stated that he was “listed as high elopement risk” and submitted a “patient transport checklist.” The judge spoke to Benny, but denied the request. Benny interrupted testimony and indicated that the restraints caused him pain. The court granted the petition allowing involuntary administration of psychotropic medication, not to exceed 90 days. The Illinois Supreme Court reinstated that ruling, holding that the appeal fell within the mootness exception for issues capable of repetition yet evading review. Courts may order physical restraints in involuntary treatment proceedings only upon a finding of manifest necessity; they must give the patient’s attorney an opportunity to be heard and must state on the record the reasons for allowing shackles. Benny’s attorney did not object to the court's procedures, ask for any additional opportunity to be heard, or request findings or an explicit statement of reasons. A specific objection was required to preserve procedural arguments, given that the procedure for allowing restraints in involuntary treatment proceedings was not established at the time of Benny's hearing. View "In re Benny M." on Justia Law