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Questions of competency

Respondent was found to suffer from a Mental Abnormality under Article 10 at a jury trial. The evidence from that trial was made a part of the record of the instant proceeding. At the trial, the State presented the testimony of two psychologists who opined that the Respondent suffered from a Mental Abnormality. The State also presented the testimony of two parole officers and introduced documentary evidence. The Respondent presented the testimony of a psychologist, who opined that the Respondent did not suffer from a Mental Abnormality.

A New York Criminal attorney said that during the trial, a psychologist witness provided a summary of the Respondent’s child, adolescent and adult history including his criminal history and history of disciplinary violations while incarcerated. Respondent’s childhood and adolescent history were also extensively outlined by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in 1978 in one case. The Second Circuit noted that its recounting of the early life of the Respondent was based on “sketchy records based on secondhand information, or facts furnished by the Respondent, whose reliability for accurately conveying information is questionable”.

In the Court’s view, however, even assuming that not every fact in the Second Circuit’s decision is completely accurate, the general outlines of Respondent’s life prior to age 17 are useful in understanding the origins of his anti-social behavior. The Court therefore has taken judicial notice of the Second Circuit’s decision and has used it in recounting what appear to have been some of the relevant events in Respondent’s life prior to age 17.

His behavior problems continued unabated. When his mother died about a month after his admission, Respondent evidently became obsessed with the idea that the children in his dormitory were responsible for her death. In retribution he set fire to the dormitory, but did so where it would be found and no one would be hurt. On another occasion he was found packing dirt into the exhaust of a truck used to transport the children with the aim of blowing it up.
The opinion goes on to note that the Respondent’s method of establishing friendships was to engage in “assaultive behavior” and that he engaged in numerous hostile acts with students and teachers. Lewd conduct is apparent.

Respondent was then institutionalized at a psychiatric center where he was diagnosed as having some features of schizophrenia. He never returned to this facility after a Thanksgiving break and by 1965. The record of the following few years is not completely clear. In 1965, at Bellevue Hospital, he was diagnosed as ” not psychotic at present’ but having a strong tendency in that direction”.

The Respondent’s life begins with an utterly crippling home environment. Early on they exhibit signs of unusual, bizarre and even destructive behaviors, often the result of traumatic experiences. Society, with humanitarian motivation, institutionalizes them, ostensibly to protect itself or them, more probably because no alternative exists. The depth of the mental/emotional problem proves too great, the numbers of Respondents too large, the resources for positive assistance too few. When released into society, criminal behavior is probable, not merely possible. A rape, a robbery, a mugging or worse ensues.

To Be cont ….

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