May 3, 2018
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia
(TRC-3-18) Hon. John McCabe, Trial Judge.
S. Frankfurt, with whom Samia Fam and Mikel-Meredith Weidman
were on the brief, for appellant.
M. Johnson, Assistant Attorney General, with whom Karl A.
Racine, Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Loren
L. AliKhan, Solicitor General, and Stacy L. Anderson, Acting
Deputy Solicitor General, were on the brief, for appellee.
Glickman, Easterly, and McLeese, Associate Judges.
MCLEESE, ASSOCIATE JUDGE:
J.P. is a sixteen-year-old minor who was prosecuted as an
adult for alleged traffic offenses but has been declared
incompetent to stand trial. J.P. challenges the trial
court's order requiring J.P. to undergo inpatient
mental-health treatment during the pendency of the District
of Columbia's petition to have J.P. civilly committed.
J.P. argues that D.C. Code § 7-1231.14 (a) (2018 Repl.)
precludes the trial court from ordering J.P. to undergo
inpatient mental-health treatment absent consent from
J.P.'s parent or guardian. This is an emergency appeal,
and after briefing and oral argument the court issued an
emergency order on May 8, 2018, affirming the ruling of the
trial court that the consent requirement reflected in §
7-1231.14 (a) does not apply to criminal defendants whose
inpatient mental-health treatment has been ordered pursuant
to D.C. Code § 24-531.07 (a)(2) (2012 Repl). In this
opinion we explain the reasoning underlying that emergency
criminal traffic charges against J.P. rest on the following
allegations. In February 2018, J.P., who did not have a
driver's license, was driving a stolen truck more than
thirty miles per hour over the speed limit. During a police
chase, J.P. went through stop signs and drove the wrong way
down a one-way street. J.P. eventually got out of the truck
and attempted to flee on foot. When police officers caught
J.P., he reached into his jacket pocket and turned toward a
police officer with a loaded .38-caliber gun in his hand.
was charged in this case as an adult for alleged criminal
traffic offenses, pursuant to D.C. Code § 16-2301 (3)(C)
(2012 Repl.). In addition, the District commenced juvenile
proceedings against J.P. for alleged weapons and
stolen-property offenses arising out of the February 2018
incident. J.P. also has been the subject of other Family
Division proceedings. He was adjudicated a neglected child in
2013 and committed to the care of the Child and Family
Services Agency (CFSA). J.P. has also been charged with
delinquency offenses on several prior occasions, but those
cases were dismissed because J.P. was deemed incompetent to
stand trial and unlikely to attain competence. At the time of
the February 2018 incident, J.P. had been missing for more
than two months after he fled from a shelter house.
on a stipulation between the parties, the trial court in this
case found that J.P. was incompetent and unlikely to attain
competence. The trial court therefore ordered that J.P.
receive inpatient mental-health treatment pursuant to D.C.
Code § 24-531.06 (c)(4) (2012 Repl.) (if criminal
defendant has been found incompetent and unlikely to attain
competence, trial court may order that defendant receive
inpatient mental-health treatment for up to thirty days
pending filing of petition for civil commitment). Because St.
Elizabeths does not have a juvenile wing and is not licensed
to provide juvenile care, the District contracted with the
Psychiatric Institute of Washington (PIW) to provide for
J.P.'s inpatient mental-health treatment pending
the District filed a petition seeking civil commitment of
J.P., the trial court ordered J.P.'s continued inpatient
mental-health treatment at PIW pending the outcome of the
civil-commitment proceeding, pursuant to § 24-531.07
(a)(2). The trial court stated that inpatient mental-health
treatment was most appropriate for the safety of both the
community and J.P.
filed an emergency motion for release, arguing that requiring
him to undergo inpatient mental-health treatment was unlawful
under § 7-1231.14 (a), because no parent or guardian had
consented. The trial court denied the motion, holding that
notwithstanding § 7-1231.14 (a), § 24-531.07 (a)(2)
authorizes continued inpatient mental-health treatment of
incompetent criminal ...