In re Guardianship of Suzette G., an incapacitated person.
Suzette G, appellant. Alvin G., Guardian, et al., appellees,
Guardians and Conservators: Appeal and
Error. An appellate court reviews guardianship and
conservatorship proceedings for error appearing on the record
made in the county court.
Judgments: Appeal and Error. When reviewing
a judgment for errors appearing on the record, an appellate
court's inquiry is whether the decision conforms to the
law, is supported by competent evidence, and is neither
arbitrary, capricious, nor unreasonable.
___ . An appellate court, in reviewing a judgment of the
trial court for errors appearing on the record, will not
substitute its factual findings for those of the trial court
where competent evidence supports those findings.
Records: Appeal and Error. It is incumbent
upon the appellant to present a record supporting the errors
assigned; absent such a record, an appellate court will
affirm the lower court's decision regarding those errors.
Appeal and Error. An appellate court will
not consider an issue on appeal that was not passed upon by
the trial court.
from the County Court for Douglas County: Marcena M. Hendrix,
Walter Crampton for appellant.
Wagner and Emily J. Briski, of Legal Aid of Nebraska, for
appellee Alvin G.
Neb.App. 478] Denise E. Frost, of Johnson & Mock, for
guardian ad litem.
Riedmann, Arterburn, and Welch, Judges.
G. appeals from an order of the county court for Douglas
County appointing her brother, Alvin G., as her limited
guardian. On appeal, Suzette argues that there was not
sufficient evidence demonstrating she was in need of a
guardian and that the guardian ad litem (GAL) appointed for
her should not have been permitted to testify at trial. We
find that the county court did not err, and therefore, we
November 2017, Alvin filed two petitions with the county
court seeking to be appointed temporary and permanent
guardian for Suzette. In his petitions, Alvin stated that a
guardianship was necessary because Suzette lacked sufficient
understanding to make or communicate responsible decisions
concerning her own person in several areas, including giving
necessary consents, approvals, and releases; arranging for
training, education, or other rehabilitative services; and
applying for government or private benefits to which she may
have been entitled. In his petition for permanent
guardianship, he also asserted that Suzette was incapable of
arranging for her treatment or medical care. As part of both
petitions, Alvin stated that his and Suzette's parents
and their sister were necessary persons required by law to
receive notice of the time and place of the hearing for
guardianship. The court subsequently appointed Alvin as
temporary guardian of Suzette, giving him the limited powers
he requested in his petition and the power to arrange for her
hearing held in February 2018 on Alvin's petition for
permanent guardianship, the court appointed Suzette both a
GAL and separate legal counsel. Alvin's temporary
guardianship of Suzette was extended until June 2018, when a
final [27 Neb.App. 479] hearing was held on his petition for
permanent guardianship. At the hearing, Alvin adduced
evidence demonstrating that Suzette was struggling with her
mental health and was hospitalized twice in the preceding
year for it. Suzette had been diagnosed at different times in
her adult life with paranoid schizoaffective disorder and
evidence revealed that in October 2017, the mental health
board for Douglas County found Suzette to be mentally ill and
dangerous, and that she was hospitalized until December 2017
and then placed in outpatient care until January 2018. Alvin
and his sister had petitioned the mental health board to
hospitalize Suzette because she was contacting law
enforcement and federal marshals claiming that people were
following her. She also believed that someone was living
inside her house, that she was being "medically
murdered," and that she asked her neighbors to test her
hair and fingernails for poison.
evidence also showed that after Suzette was released from the
hospital in December 2017, a treatment plan was created by
the mental health board which required that she receive an
injectable medication every month for her mental health and
that she seek a guardianship. However, in February 2018,
Suzette was hospitalized a second time, after she failed to
take her medication. Suzette argued that although she did not
take the injectable medication because it made her ill, she
was taking the tablet form of the medication. Suzette was
released from the hospital in March 2018, and it was
recommended that she see a psychiatrist and a therapist.
has had a history of noncompliance with treatment for her
mental illness. Despite being recommended to do so, Suzette
did not meet consistently with a therapist. She had three
therapists between January and June 2018. She stopped seeing
her first therapist because she did not choose her. She
discontinued treatment with the second therapist, Dr. Aveva
Shukert, because she was "negative," and she
stopped working with the third therapist after two visits
because Suzette believed [27 Neb.App. 480] she was lying. At
the time of the hearing, Suzette was not in therapy.
Additionally, Suzette had stopped taking medication for her