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The Commitment of Tenita Janelle Dorsey

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, Third Circuit

May 31, 2017

THE COMMITMENT OF TENITA JANELLE DORSEY

         APPEAL FROM THE TENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF NATCHITOCHES, NO. 88, 879A HONORABLE W. PEYTON CUNNINGHAM, JR., DISTRICT JUDGE

          Patricia A. Gilley Gilley & Gilley COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Tenita Janelle Dorsey

          Al Sale Laura Picard Mental Health Advocacy COUNSEL FOR APPELLANT: Tenita Janelle Dorsey

          Ed Hall PRO-SE APPELLEE

          Martine Lattier PRO-SE APPELLEE

          Court composed of Elizabeth A. Pickett, Phyllis M. Keaty, and D. Kent Savoie, Judges.

          D. KENT SAVOIE JUDGE.

         Ms. Dorsey appeals the trial court's Order of Judicial Commitment dated October 27, 2016. For the reasons that follow, we set aside the trial court's order and remand for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         In July 2016, Tenita Dorsey hired Ed Hall as a private investigator and paid him $3, 000 for his services. According to Mr. Hall, Ms. Dorsey had hired him "to gather evidence against the [Natchitoches] City Fathers so that she could file suit against them for doing her wrong . . . by following her and harassing her." Mr. Hall indicated that after meeting with Ms. Dorsey several times, it was his opinion that she was "paranoid, " "illusional [sic], " and "wasn't altogether there[.]" Further Mr. Hall's assistant, Martine Lattier, indicated that she noticed a shotgun in Ms. Dorsey's home, although it was unclear whether the gun was loaded or not, and that Ms. Dorsey had stated to her that she wished her friend, Camille Moran, were dead.

         On October 20, 2016, Mr. Hall and Ms. Lattier filed a pro-se petition seeking the judicial commitment of Ms. Dorsey. The petition notes that at the time it was filed, Ms. Dorsey was residing at Promise Hospital in Shreveport; however, the record lacks any information concerning the circumstances leading to her residing there.

         The trial judge signed an order on October 21, 2016, ordering that Ms. Dorsey:

be examined by a physician from Promise Specialty Hospital, or by another physician. The physician shall examine [Ms. Dorsey] prior to the date fixed for hearing and shall file a written report with this Court on forms provided for that purpose by the Office of Mental Health of the Department of Health and Human Resources.

         The trial judge further appointed Mental Health Advocacy Services to represent Ms. Dorsey, ordered that Ms. Dorsey continue to be detained by Promise, and ...


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