COURT WATCH: Defense Argues Man ‘Warehoused’ in State Hospital for 9 Years Should Be Allowed to Move to ‘Transition’ – Judge Disagrees

By Cynthia Hoang-Duong and Hailey Cairns

WOODLAND, CA – Despite a man’s nine years in a hospital treatment program, Judge Stephen L. Mock denied the defense request for outpatient treatment during a review hearing here in Yolo County Superior Court late last week.

The accused was charged with felonies for robbery in the second degree—with an enhancement for the use of a firearm, altering a firearm’s identifying markings, and possessing precursor chemicals.

In 2017, because he was found not guilty by reason of insanity, the accused was committed to a psychiatric hospital as part of the Department of State Hospitals in Napa County (DSH-Napa) treatment program.

As of Friday morning, the accused has been in the program for nine years based on a DSH report provided by the program, three months late.

Defense counsel John R. McDonough cited the report regarding his client’s progress, noting the accused has proven to have a greater understanding of his crimes, schizophrenia disorder, and the ability to control his actions.

However, despite such progress and “glowing comments” from his psychiatrist, DSH-Napa concluded the accused should remain at the psychiatric hospital.

McDonough expressed his disagreement with the opinion, arguing the accused is the prime candidate for a transitory position at a farmhouse because of the relatively little remaining time until his release.

Therefore, defense counsel argued, the farmhouse is an excellent opportunity for the accused to transition back into society, noting the accused could complete the outpatient program in about two years under supervision.

Addressing the report, the defense counsel complained it failed to provide strong reasons for why the accused is not a prime candidate and should not be released, especially because the accused does not pose a risk to the public.

Counsel also said the release of the accused would open a position at DSH-Napa, considering its immense pressure to admit individuals, and encouraged the court to approve the outpatient treatment opportunity in the interest of the court, society and DSH-Napa.

However, Deputy District Attorney David L. Wilson objected to the request, stressing the defense did not provide notice of the request, file a motion, or cite an expert opinion.

The DDA urged the court to follow DSH-Napa’s recommendation that the accused remain in the inpatient program. Because the following review date is in September, the court can receive a new DSH report for consideration, Wilson said.

McDonough, though, rebutted the DDA and maintained a psychiatrist hired by the defense had concluded the accused was more than capable of transitioning. And if it suited the court, the defense attorney confirmed he will file a motion the following day.

He re-emphasized the DSH report’s weak reasons to retain the accused, protesting, “This matter, Your Honor, keeps getting kicked down the road … They’re warehousing him. It behooves the court…”

However, given that the DSH report noted the accused still suffers from symptoms that indicate outpatient treatment is not appropriate, Judge Mock denied the defense request, and the accused will remain in the program for another four-and-a-half months until Sept. 1.

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