In the Matter of the Care and Treatment of Clay Robert Snyder.
BY THE COURT
1. The Kansas Care and Treatment Act for Mentally Ill.
Persons, K.S.A. 59-2945 et seq., as applied via
K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 22-3303 does not violate the Equal
Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United
Kansas Care and Treatment Act for Mentally Ill. Persons,
K.S.A. 59-2945 et seq., as applied via K.S.A. 2017 Supp.
22-3303 does not violate the Due Process Clause of the
Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
the facts of this case, the evidence was sufficient to
involuntarily commit the defendant for care and treatment.
from Pawnee District Court; Julie F. Cowell, magistrate
Curtis, of Disability Rights Center of Kansas, of Topeka,
argued the cause, and Ronald D. Smith, of Smith and Burnett,
LLC, of Larned, was with her on the briefs for appellant.
R. Carswell, assistant solicitor general, argued the cause,
and Bryan C. Clark, assistant solicitor general, and Derek
Schmidt, attorney general, were with him on the brief for
the Saline County District Court found Clay Snyder not
competent to stand trial, the Kansas Department for Aging and
Disability Services (KDADS) initiated involuntary commitment
proceedings against him. Ultimately, the Pawnee County
District Court found Snyder was mentally ill and dangerous
under K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 59-2946(e) and (f)(3) and ordered him
committed to Larned State Hospital (Larned) for care and
treatment. Snyder appeals from this commitment order,
alleging equal protection and due process violations and
challenging the sufficiency of the evidence. Finding
Snyder's constitutional rights were not violated and the
evidence was sufficient to involuntarily commit him, we
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Snyder was charged with rape, aggravated criminal sodomy, and
aggravated indecent liberties with a child in Saline County.
Snyder filed a motion to determine his competency to stand
trial, triggering a lengthy cycle of competency evaluations,
judicial findings of incompetency, treatment to restore
competency, and renewed efforts by the State to take Snyder
to trial. This process has now spanned years and has been
interrupted and prolonged at least twice by involuntary
commitment proceedings under the Kansas Care and Treatment
Act for Mentally Ill. Persons (Care and Treatment Act),
K.S.A. 59-2945 et seq. Snyder's competency
detainment is the subject of a separate case, this day
decided. See In re Habeas Corpus Petition of Snyder,
307 Kan.__, __ P.3d __(2018) (No. 117, 167, this day
far, competency restoration efforts have proven unsuccessful.
In November 2016, the Saline County District Court again
found Snyder was not competent to stand trial with no
substantial probability that he would attain competency in
the foreseeable future. Consequently, as directed by Kansas
statute, the court ordered KDADS to commence involuntary
commitment proceedings against Snyder. See K.S.A. 2017 Supp.
22-3303(1) ("If such probability does not exist, the
court shall order the secretary for aging and disability
services to commence involuntary commitment proceedings
pursuant to article 29 of chapter 59 of the Kansas Statutes
Annotated."). Three months later, KDADS filed a petition
for determination of mental illness in Pawnee County,
alleging Snyder was a mentally ill person subject to
involuntary commitment for care and treatment at Larned.
Pawnee County District Court held a bench trial on March 21,
2017. KDADS presented one witness, psychologist Jessica
Zoglman, who testified about a report she wrote to the court
recommending that Snyder be committed for inpatient treatment
at Larned. The parties entered five exhibits into evidence:
(1) KDADS's petition for determination of mental illness,
which included two of Snyder's competency evaluations;
(2) Zoglman's curriculum vitae; (3) Zoglman's report
to the court; (4) Snyder's recent Larned intake
assessment; and (5) Snyder's petition for writ of habeas
corpus in a separate case.
testified that she reviewed Snyder's Larned admission
records, which included an intake assessment completed by the
admitting psychiatrist, and the two competency evaluations
attached to the petition. She also conducted an interview
with Snyder on March 10, 2017, and interacted with him in her
duties as Larned unit psychologist. These records and
interactions formed the basis of her report. Ultimately, she
concluded Snyder was mentally ill, dangerous to others, and
in need of treatment.
testified that Snyder met the criteria for the diagnosis of
"Intellectual Disability, mild as severity, as well as a
number of different substance use disorders that are
currently in remission." In her report, Zoglman stated
she "ruled out a paraphilic related diagnosis at the
present time" but noted Snyder's "[e]ncounter
for mental health services for perpetrator of nonparental
child sexual abuse" was a condition that might be the
focus of clinical attention. Zoglman testified that she used
the word "condition" because Snyder did not meet
the "habit criteria" for a diagnosis.
discrepancy between Zoglman's testimony and report caused
confusion about whether Snyder fit the definition of a
"mentally ill person" for purposes of involuntary
commitment. In her report, Zoglman did not check the box to
indicate that Snyder was a mentally ill person. As Zoglman
explained, the standardized report form defined
"mentally ill person" in accordance with K.S.A.
2017 Supp. 59-2946(f)(1), which excludes persons
solely diagnosed with an intellectual disability from being
mentally ill persons subject to involuntary commitment. But
this definition did not apply to Snyder, who was charged with
an off-grid felony and found incompetent to stand trial.
Instead, Snyder was subject to the definition of
"mentally ill person" found in K.S.A. 2017 Supp.
59-2946(e), which does not contain this exclusion. See K.S.A.
2017 Supp. 22-3303(1) ("[F]or such proceeding,
'mentally ill person subject to involuntary commitment
for care and treatment' means a mentally ill person, as
defined in subsection [e] of K.S.A. 59-2946 . . . who is
likely to cause harm to self and others, as defined in
subsection [f] of K.S.A. 59-2946.").
clarified that under the correct definition, she believed
Snyder was a mentally ill person. Furthermore, Zoglman
concluded Snyder met the "likely to cause harm"
criteria set forth in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 59-2946(f)(3)
because, though he posed no immediate threat to himself,
without supervision he could be dangerous to others because
he did not understand the seriousness of the charges against
him. As Zoglman explained,
"The important piece is his lack of insight into that
seriousness. You know when speaking with him for an interview
. . . he was aware that his charges are related to, you know
a sexual offense of a child. However, he indicated that it
wasn't serious and so to me . . . he has a lack of
insight, lack of appreciation for that seriousness. With the
. . .severity level of his charges being off grid, it is a
concern that if he does not see that his current legal
situation is a serious matter that potentially without
supervision other actions or other things could happen."
Zoglman testified that Snyder needed treatment. She explained
that treatment would not "cure" Snyder's
intellectual disability; however, treatment such as group and
individual therapy could help Snyder interact more
appropriately, function better, and live with less stress.
She concluded that "intensive supervision in a locked
facility is care that is needed for Mr. Snyder."
testified briefly about his disability and the competency
restoration classes he took at Larned. He demonstrated a poor
understanding of the nature of his disability and the legal