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Irwin v. Goodno

September 28, 2004

RAYMOND D. IRWIN, APPELLANT,
v.
KEVIN GOODNO, COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN SERVICES, RESPONDENT.



Anoka County District Court File No. PX-93-8893.

Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge; Halbrooks, Judge; and Anderson, Judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

A judicial appeal panel has subject-matter jurisdiction to decide a petition for rehearing and reconsideration of an order by the Commissioner of Human Services denying a petition for discharge of an indeterminate commitment as mentally ill and dangerous by one under dual commitment as mentally ill and dangerous and as a psychopathic personality.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Toussaint, Chief Judge

Reversed and remanded

OPINION

Appellant Raymond D. Irwin, who is indeterminately committed as mentally ill and dangerous and as a psychopathic personality, appeals from a decision by the judicial appeal panel. The appeal panel dismissed for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction his petition for rehearing and reconsideration of the order of the Commissioner of Human Services denying his petition for discharge from his commitment as mentally ill and dangerous. Because the appeal panel had subject-matter jurisdiction to address Irwin's petition, we reverse and remand for a hearing and decision on the merits.

FACTS

Raymond Irwin has a long and extensive history of sexual misconduct, other criminal behavior, and mental illness. In his most recent convictions, he was sentenced to 30 months for burglary and 152 months for criminal sexual conduct that occurred in 1984. State v. Irwin, 379 N.W.2d 110, 112-13 (Minn. App. 1985), review denied (Minn. Jan. 23, 1986). In 1993, shortly before his scheduled release date, the county filed a petition for his commitment as a psychopathic personality (PP), and then filed an amended petition also seeking his commitment as mentally ill and dangerous (MI&D). After an initial and a review hearing, he was committed as PP and MI&D for an indeterminate period, and this court affirmed. In re Irwin, 529 N.W.2d 366, 376 (Minn. App. 1995), review denied (Minn. May 16, 1995).

In 2002, Irwin petitioned the Commissioner of Human Services for discharge from his MI&D commitment, but did not seek relief from his PP commitment. After a hearing, the special review board issued findings and recommended denying the petition, and the commissioner did so. When Irwin petitioned the judicial appeal panel for rehearing and reconsideration of the commissioner's decision, the commissioner moved to dismiss the petition for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction. The appeal panel granted the motion, and this appeal followed.

ISSUE

Did the judicial appeal panel err in dismissing appellant's petition for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction?

ANALYSIS

Whether a court has subject-matter jurisdiction is a question of law reviewed de novo. In re Thulin, 660 N.W.2d 140, 143 (Minn. App. 2003). Questions of statutory interpretation are also reviewed de novo. ...


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