FROM THE SALINE COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT [NO. 63PR-16-73]
HONORABLE ROBERT HERZFELD, JUDGE
Brent Standridge, Saline Cty. Deputy Pub. Def., for
Goff, Office of Chief Counsel, for appellee.
KENNETH S. HIXSON, Judge.
Mona Lisa Pardew appeals from an order awarding long-term
protective custody of Ms. Pardew to appellee Arkansas
Department of Human Services (DHS) pursuant to the Adult
Maltreatment Custody Act. On appeal, Ms. Pardew argues that the
trial court erred in ordering long-term custody with DHS
because it was not established that she was an endangered
adult requiring such placement. We affirm.
standard of review for probate orders is well established. We
review probate proceedings de novo, and the decision of the
trial court will not be disturbed unless clearly erroneous,
giving due regard to the opportunity and superior position of
the trial court to determine the credibility of witnesses.
Adams v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 375 Ark.
402, 291 S.W.3d 172 (2009). A finding is clearly erroneous
when, although there is evidence to support it, the reviewing
court on the entire evidence is left with the definite and
firm conviction that a mistake has been committed.
Middlebrook v. Ark. Dep't of Human Servs., 2015
initiated these proceedings on February 16, 2016, when it
filed a petition for emergency custody of Ms. Pardew. In the
petition, DHS alleged that Ms. Pardew's health or safety
was in imminent danger and that she lacked the capacity to
comprehend the nature and consequences of remaining in the
dangerous situation. Attached to the petition was the
affidavit of Darlene Schulz, an investigator with the Adult
Protective Services Division of the Arkansas Department of
Human Services. Ms. Schulz stated that DHS had received
numerous calls regarding Ms. Pardew, who weighed
approximately 600 pounds and had repeatedly fallen and called
the police for assistance. Upon investigating, Ms. Schulz met
with Ms. Pardew and discovered that she was unable to walk
without falling. Ms. Pardew was unable to shop for groceries,
prepare her own food, or perform basic personal care. Ms.
Pardew was living alone at a motel, with no place to go upon
checkout, and had nobody to provide the level of care she
required. Ms. Pardew had urine-stained sheets and was found
by Ms. Schulz to be sitting in a chair half-dressed, unable
to get out of her chair and dress herself. Motel employees
had recently called the fire department for help after Ms.
Pardew had reported being stuck in the bathtub. Based on
these circumstances Ms. Schulz determined that Ms. Pardew was
physically impaired and incapable of caring for herself, and
DHS placed a 72-hour emergency hold on Ms. Pardew.
Shultz's affidavit stated that, after being taken into
DHS custody, Ms. Pardew was transported to a hospital where
it was discovered that she had critically low levels of
hemoglobin and hematocrit, which was indicative of possible
internal bleeding. Ms. Pardew was also diagnosed with a
Kenneth Vest, a psychiatrist, examined Ms. Pardew and
submitted an affidavit. Dr. Vest gave a primary diagnosis of
"dementia and delusion" and reported that Ms.
Pardew needed total care, including help with her daily
activities and assistance with turning her in the bed. Dr.
Vest gave the opinion that Ms. Pardew was physically and
mentally impaired, that she lacked the mental capacity to
protect herself from neglect, and that she should remain in
DHS custody for protective care in a nursing home.
on DHS's petition, the trial court entered an ex parte
order of emergency custody, as well as a probable-cause order
setting the matter for a hearing on the issue of long-term
custody. The hearing was held on April 12, 2016.
Schulz testified at the long-term custody hearing. Ms. Schulz
testified that she did not believe Ms. Pardew could protect
herself from abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Ms. Schulz
stated that, although Ms. Pardew was now walking and was more
independent in her care, she continued to suffer from
dementia compounded by delirium. Ms. Schulz did not believe
that Ms. Pardew had the capacity to comprehend the nature and
consequences of remaining in the situation that presented an
imminent danger to her health and safety. Ms. Schulz stated
that Ms. Pardew did not care for herself appropriately and
was likely to return to her previous condition if not
monitored in an assisted-living situation. Ms. Schulz could
not identify any DHS services that would be a viable
alternative to protective custody.
Pardew testified on her own behalf, and she indicated that
she disliked living in the nursing home where she had been
placed. Ms. Pardew testified that she had been taking care of
herself, feeding herself, and bathing herself for more than a
month. She stated that she wanted to move either into an
apartment or into a mobile home on some property she owned.
April 12, 2016, the trial court entered an order placing Ms.
Pardew in the long-term protective custody of DHS. In its
order, the trial court found that Ms. Pardew was endangered
or impaired, that she lacked the capacity to comprehend the
nature and consequences of remaining in a situation
presenting an imminent danger to her health or safety, and
that she had a mental or physical impairment that prevented
her from protecting herself. The trial court specifically
found that Ms. Pardew was unable to provide for her own
protection from maltreatment. The trial court also found by
clear and convincing evidence that Ms. Pardew was in need of
DHS placement. The trial court ordered DHS to review the case
every six months, or more frequently if warranted, as