October 11, 2016
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Family
Division (MRE-21-03) (Hon. Aida L. Melendez, Magistrate
Judge) (Hon. Carol Ann Dalton, Reviewing Judge)
E. Bergeron for appellant.
L. Anderson, Senior Assistant Attorney General, with whom
Karl A. Racine, Attorney General for the District of
Columbia, Todd S. Kim, Solicitor General, and Loren L.
AliKhan, Deputy Solicitor General, were on the brief, for
appellee District of Columbia.
Charles H. Fitzpatrick, guardian ad litem for appellant,
filed a statement adopting appellee's brief.
Washington, Chief Judge, and Easterly and McLeese, Associate
case came to be heard on the transcript of record and the
briefs filed, and was argued by counsel. On consideration
whereof, and for the reasons set forth in the opinion filed
this date, it is now hereby
and ADJUDGED that the reviewing judge's order affirming
the magistrate judge's order is vacated, and the case is
remanded for further proceedings.
McLeese, Associate Judge
2004, appellant Karen Perry was involuntarily committed to a
residential facility under the Citizens with Intellectual
Disabilities Act, D.C. Code § 7-1301 et seq. (2012 Repl.
& 2016 Supp.), on the grounds that she had a moderate
intellectual disability and needed assistance to develop
necessary life skills. In 2012, the District of Columbia
Department on Disability Services moved to have Ms.
Perry's involuntary commitment lifted, contending that
Ms. Perry had only a mild intellectual disability and thus
could no longer properly be involuntarily committed. Through
court-appointed counsel, Ms. Perry opposed the lifting of her
involuntary commitment, arguing that commitment was necessary
to ensure that Ms. Perry did not have the option to leave her
residential facility and thus lose access to necessary
services. The magistrate judge denied Ms. Perry's
requests for an evidentiary hearing and for funds to obtain
an expert to assist Ms. Perry's counsel. Taking into
account both recent and prior evaluations of Ms. Perry, the
magistrate judge concluded that there was a reasonable doubt
as to whether Ms. Perry was moderately intellectually
disabled. The magistrate judge therefore terminated Ms.
Perry's involuntary commitment. In this court, Ms. Perry
argues, among other things, that she should have been granted
an evidentiary hearing and the assistance of an expert in
connection with that hearing. We agree that Ms. Perry should
have been afforded an evidentiary hearing. We therefore
vacate the judgment and remand the case for further
Facts and Procedural Background
Perry was involuntarily committed to a residential facility
pursuant to D.C. Code § 7-1303.04, which authorizes such
commitment only if the individual being committed has at
least a moderate intellectual disability. To have a moderate
intellectual disability, a person must be at least moderately
impaired both cognitively and adaptively. D.C. Code §
7-1301.03 (2). The court reviewed Ms. Perry's commitment
annually, as required under D.C. Code § 7-1304.11, and
Ms. Perry was evaluated in connection with those reviews.
Although a number of those evaluations indicated that Ms.
Perry's cognitive functioning was moderately impaired,
some evaluations indicated that Ms. Perry's cognitive
functioning was instead mildly impaired. Through 2009, the
trial court determined that Ms. Perry was moderately
intellectually disabled. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, the trial
court found that Ms. Perry was mildly cognitively impaired
and moderately adaptively impaired, but continued her
2012, the Department on Disability Services moved to have Ms.
Perry's involuntary commitment terminated, arguing that
Ms. Perry was only mildly cognitively impaired. In response,
the magistrate judge ordered the District to arrange for a
new psychological evaluation of Ms. Perry. That evaluation
was conducted by Dr. William H. Byrd, who ...