In the Interest of D.D.
D.D., Respondent and Appellant Steven Hill, M.D., Petitioner and Appellee
from the District Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast
Central Judicial District, the Honorable Donald Hager, Judge.
D. Yon, Assistant State's Attorney, Grand Forks, N.D.,
for petitioner and appellee; submitted on brief.
S. Barron, Grand Forks, N.D., for respondent and appellant;
submitted on brief.
1] D.D. appeals a district court order requiring his
involuntary hospitalization and treatment, directing law
enforcement to seize D.D.'s firearms, and finding that
federal and state firearm restrictions applied to him. We
affirm the district court's conclusion that the state and
federal firearms restrictions are not unconstitutionally
vague and apply to D.D. We reverse the order to seize
D.D.'s firearms because neither the state nor the
district court identified legal authority for issuing a
summary seizure order as part of a mental health commitment
2] In April 2018, Dr. Steven Hill filed an application for
evaluation and emergency admission, request for
transportation for emergency detention, and petition for
involuntary commitment, alleging that D.D. was mentally ill
and in need of emergency treatment. D.D. was admitted to the
North Dakota State Hospital. After a preliminary hearing, the
district court ordered involuntary hospitalization and
treatment at the State Hospital for fourteen days, and found
the firearm restrictions under 18 U.S.C. §§
922(d)(4), 922(g)(4), and N.D.C.C. § 62.1-02-01(1)(c)
3] During the treatment hearing, D.D. testified to owning
several firearms. He stated that if he was prohibited from
possessing firearms, he would sell them. During closing
arguments, the petitioner requested that the district court
either order D.D. to provide proof of sale of his firearms
before he returned to his residence or authorize the
sheriff's department to enter D.D.'s home and seize
the firearms. The district court found there was clear and
convincing evidence that D.D. was mentally ill, a person
requiring treatment, and that no alternative treatment other
than hospitalization at the State Hospital was appropriate.
The court ordered treatment at the State Hospital for a
period not to exceed ninety days. The district court again
found that the firearm possession restrictions under 18
U.S.C. §§ 922(d)(4), 922(g)(4), and N.D.C.C. §
62.1-02-01(1)(c) applied, and ordered that "[l]aw
enforcement shall seize all firearms in the Respondent's
possession and residence. Respondent may request return for
purposes of sale only, and only by delivery of law
enforcement to the selling agent."
4] On May 11, 2018, law enforcement seized about 100 firearms
from D.D.'s residence. The State Hospital released D.D.
three days later. In the notice of release, Dr. Pryatel
explained that D.D. "no longer requires
hospitalization." Upon petition, the district court
ordered less restrictive treatment, allowing D.D. to
participate in outpatient treatment.
5] D.D. argues that the federal and state firearm possession
restrictions are unconstitutionally vague.
6] The petitioner claims that this constitutional issue is
not properly before this Court because D.D. did not comply
with N.D.R.App.P. 44. Rule 44 requires that a party
questioning the constitutionality of a statute "in which
the state or its agency, officer, or employee is not a party
in an official capacity" must give written notice to the
attorney general upon filing of the record or as soon as the
question is raised. The petitioner, Dr. Hill, is a
psychiatrist employed by the Northeast Human Service Center,
one of eight regional human service centers within the North
Dakota Department of Human Services. Dr. Hill was represented
by the Grand Forks County State's Attorney's Office,
and his participation in this matter was in his official
capacity as a state employee acting on behalf of a state
agency, as shown by letterhead ...