Tuesday, December 02, 2014

People v. Parker (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 2, 2014)

She did, in fact, shoot up a doctor's office.  That's not good.  Not good at all.

But there's always a story.  Not necessarily one that makes everything make sense, but that's a big part of the story as well.  Here's two paragraphs of hers:

"In 1994, defendant had surgery to remove a cyst in her vaginal area. Defendant believes the surgeon intentionally disfigured her labia and cut her vaginal artery, which defendant believes is causing her to bleed internally, despite the artery being four inches from the surgery site and no incisions being made in her vaginal wall. Defendant also believes the doctor is a member of a cult that harms women.

On August 20, 1999, defendant entered the doctor’s office with a .22-caliber revolver and ordered the doctor to the floor. Defendant discharged two rounds into the ceiling and ordered the receptionist to assist with handcuffing the doctor. Defendant then waited for the media to arrive so she could 'expose' the doctor. Law enforcement arrived, and defendant engaged in a standoff for approximately 20 minutes."

Not your typical shoot-em-up offense.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the jury finds the defendant not guilty by reason of insanity.  So she gets sent to Patton, an in-patient mental health facility.

And gets better.  Thankfully.  Medication (presumably).  Mental health treatment.  The works.


After six years, she's sufficiently better that she gets released from the hospital.  Still gets outpatient treatment.  Still supervised by the San Bernardino/Riverside Conditional Release Program (CONREP).  But out and "free".  At least relatively.

I won't belabor the details, but suffice it to say that in 2009 she begins to decompensate.  Gets more paranoid.  Maybe starts drinking (which violates the terms of her release).  Starts focusing way too much again on her allegedly messed up vagina.  Other stuff too.  ("Defendant missed a CONREP appointment in May 2009. Defendant called her therapist and said she went AWOL from the program in order to seek medical attention for the 'botched' vaginal surgery. Defendant traveled to Oregon “in search of a clinic to perform her desired CT-scan”—a vaginal arteriogram. While in Oregon, defendant hit or attempted to hit her ex-boyfriend’s girlfriend with a vehicle. Defendant was charged with recklessly endangering another person and was extradited back to California for absconding from CONREP.")

Back in to Patton she goes.

Two more years of treatment.  Fixed.  In December of 2011, the trial court finds that she's no longer a danger to herself or others.  It orders her released from Patton and tells CONREP to find (and let the court know) the best outpatient placement for her.  That's where we'll put her.  Because -- to repeat -- she's no danger to herself or others.

CONREP's supposed to do that, by statute, within 21 days.  That doesn't happen.  Instead, it takes six months or so.  During which time she stays in Patton.  Then CONREP tells the court that it disagrees with its decision.  She should stay in Patton and not be released.

You'll notice that's not what the court asked.  Or -- more accurately -- ordered.

But CONREP says that the usual places won't take her.  Keeps talking about her alleged problems; e.g., "My vagina is black! I have pictures."  Not the kind of person these places want.  So CONREP says that she should stay in.  If only because no one will take her.

At which point the trial court reverses itself and keeps her in.

There's a huge underlying problem here.  The trial court found that defendant was not a danger to herself or others and satisfied the criteria for being released.  CONREP is not the Court of Appeal.  It's not supposed to "review" the trial court's decision.  Even in the guise of saying "Oh, sorry, we can't follow your order because we think you're wrong and she is, in fact, still a danger to herself or others, ergo no one will take her."  Not supposed to be the way these things work.

Ultimately, though, the Court of Appeal affirms.  The trial court can change its mind.  And did so here based upon new evidence:  namely, the evidence that arose once CONREP engaged in the much-longer-than-21-day process to "find" her a placement.  One that it really never thought should have been ordered in the first place.