Tuesday, December 01, 2015

People v. Williams (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 1, 2015)

There's a fine line between "dangerously mentally ill" versus "dangerously incredibly strange".  But it's a meaningful one.

Even if one's reaction might principally be to want some individuals in both categories to stay in a hospital forever rather than being let out on the street.

Take Mr. Williams, for example:

"In early 1993, defendant, then 51 years old, was arrested for possession of methamphetamine; he was also found in possession of drug paraphernalia and a loaded firearm.

While on bail in June 1993, defendant fired a machine gun and injured a police officer, and the next day shot at an officer and a police dog. A jury found him not guilty by reason of insanity (NGI) of two counts of attempted murder (§§ 664/187), two counts of assault on a custodial officer with great bodily injury (§ 245, subd. (b)(3)), unlawful possession of a machine gun (former § 12220), and interfering with a dog being used by a police officer (§ 600).

Defendant’s adult criminal record also included molestation of his 10-year-old stepdaughter, three convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and carrying a concealed weapon. He had no juvenile criminal record.

Two mental health professionals evaluated defendant in 1993. Both noted that defendant seemed angry and paranoid toward the police department and the justice system, likely due to abuse of methamphetamine and alcohol. One evaluator also opined: “[Defendant] is extremely rigid, and as long as his views of circumstances of the world is [sic] listened to, he is calm and cooperative. However, any attempt to confront that rapidly leads to escalation and probably to explosive behavior . . . and beliefs that he has a right to live his life and behave as he sees fit. This is not only the basis of his delusional disorder, but I think also on the basis of his paranoid personality.”

On July 11, 1994, defendant was committed to a state mental hospital. (§ 1026.) His maximum commitment date was April 5, 2014.

Defendant was admitted to Atascadero State Hospital in June 2009 after being transferred from Napa State Hospital, from which he had attempted to escape. When admitted, defendant claimed he had no motivation to be psychiatrically stable, to take medication, to avoid harming himself or others, or to avoid illicit drugs. Thereafter, he persistently refused to attend therapeutic groups in the hospital. . . .

According to the earliest report, defendant’s thought content was “devoid of overt delusions, hallucinations, and homicidal/suicidal ideation”; however, “insight and judgment are impaired.” His current offense was “fueled by his concurrent use of methamphetamine,” but also by his “persecutory delusions against police officers, rigid personality structure, and impaired insight/judgment.” He remained “defiant and oppositional.” His “deeply-rooted personality disorder” was the most likely cause of his “ongoing difficulties.” He denied mental illness, attributing his current offense entirely to methamphetamine use but refused to participate in substance abuse recovery treatment, and had no relapse prevention plan. Although he had not been violent in the past 12 months, his outstanding personality difficulties, combined with a relapse into alcohol and drug use, could “easily push him over the edge and lead him to act out violently with lethal consequences.” Defendant said he planned to “wait here for another five years until my commitment expires.”"