Man Does Nearly 3 Years in Jail; Now DA and Defense Want to Find Him Help


By Kianna Anvari

SACRAMENTO — “I see voices and I hear things,” in-custody defendant Timothy Harrington shouted out during the prosecution’s remarks Friday in Sacramento County Superior Court.

Harrington is considered incompetent by both the defense and district attorney, and the hearing dealt with not punishing him but finding him help after he has languished for nearly three years in custody in Sacramento County Jail.

Harrington’s attorney, defense counsel Thomas Clinkenbeard, told Judge Michael Sweet that his client does not have an active criminal case and cannot be prosecuted because he was found to be incompetent.

Harrington allegedly violated felony probation in Feb. 2018 and was sentenced to three years at county jail. Today he appeared in custody for his continued proceedings.

Clinkenbeard has attempted to investigate Harrington’s suitability for “Murphy’s conservatorship,” which would place Harrington in a state hospital or psychiatric treatment facility. However, Harrington was denied because he did not satisfy the criteria.

On Harrington’s last court date. Nov. 20, Clinkenbeard requested the court direct Jail Psychiatric Services (JPS) to perform a grave disability evaluation of him. Clinkenbeard has not received any documentation from JPS and has no reason to believe an evaluation was conducted.

Clinkenbeard told Judge Sweet that he and Deputy District Attorney Brian Morgan decided it was in Harrington’s best interest to have the court once again direct JPS to perform a grave disability evaluation of him.

Clinkenbeard explained that if the evaluation proved his client to be disabled, he would then be released and evaluated at an emergency department, and eventually be taken to a psychiatric hospital.

Judge Sweet asked Clinkenbeard where Harrington would go if he were released. Clinkenbeard said that he imagined it would be a state of homelessness for his client, and he would be concerned for his ability to provide for his own food, clothing, and shelter.

“At the same time, he can’t languish indefinitely in custody,” Clinkenbeard said. So, he argued that his best option would be an evaluation by JPS.

DDA Morgan agreed that this was the only thing to do so that Harrington did not remain in jail.

“We need to make sure we don’t just release individuals out to the community who we honestly believe are gravely disabled without some sort of plan,” Morgan said, adding that if JPS has reason to believe Harrington is gravely disabled, he will come back to court and ask for him to be released on his own recognizance so he can go to the emergency department.

Morgan said that because of COVID-19, the jail cannot send Harrington to a medical center.

He added that while Harrington has served 964 days of his three-year sentence, he has arguably maxed out his time because he was determined incompetent.

Judge Sweet agreed to direct JPS to perform a grave disability evaluation of Harrington. His next court date is set for Dec. 18.

Kianna Anvari will earn a Master’s in Public Administration from San Diego State University in May 2021. She is from San Diego.

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About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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