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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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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  4. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  5. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

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