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Commitment statute not unconstitutional as applied to man with brain injury

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A Marion Superior Court did not violate a defendant’s due process rights in ordering his commitment to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction after finding him incompetent to stand trial. Evan Leedy suffered a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident that killed his girlfriend and injured another driver.

The state charged Leedy, who was driving, with four felony counts of operating while intoxicated stemming from the accident. He suffered a brain injury and was comatose for about a month. He underwent mental evaluations with a court-appointed psychiatrist and clinical psychologist, who split over whether Leedy could be returned to competency.

Representatives of the DMHA testified that Logansport State Hospital, which houses those with mental illness and disability awaiting trial, could provide services for Leedy. Any services the hospital couldn’t provide would be outsourced. DMHA’s chief counsel referenced the agency’s funding constraints on outpatient restorative services and that the agency would work to place Leedy wherever his specific needs could be best met.

Leedy, who has been staying with his mother during this litigation, argued that the commitment statute was unconstitutional as applied to him because I.C. 35-36-3-1 is specifically geared toward those with mental illness or disabilities.

“Leedy’s due process arguments are based on speculation concerning both DMHA’s ability to provide him with the necessary therapeutic services and his own cognitive responses to those services. Essentially, he has asked us to reweigh evidence and make a conclusion that the legislature has specifically delegated to experts in the field of mental competency, a determination that is made after a period of providing services and evaluating the patient/accused,” Judge Terry Crone wrote. “This is precisely why the General Assembly outlined such specific procedures, recognizing the delicate balance that exists between the fundamental fairness owed to the accused and the interests of both the public and the accused in the prompt disposition of criminal charges.”

The judges found the commitment statute is not unconstitutional as applied to Leedy and affirmed the commitment order. Judge Michael Barnes wrote separately to highlight what he called inadequacies in the state’s mental health system.

“All agree that the Larue Center in Indianapolis is better-suited to handle the specific type of brain injuries Leedy sustained. I would respectfully, but strongly, suggest that DMHA focus on securing the best and most appropriate treatment for Leedy—wherever that might be. Without providing the best possible services for competency treatment, evaluation, and restoration (if possible), DMHA and the State would possibly be delaying ultimate resolution of this case at the expense of Leedy, his family, the victims, and families of the victims of Leedy’s alleged crimes,” he wrote.

The case is Evan Leedy v. State of Indiana, 49A04-1303-CR-102.
 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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