Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

People v. Sansone

MARCH 12, 1974.

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

GERALD SANSONE, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH SCHNEIDER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

This appeal arises from an order finding respondent, Gerald Sansone, in need of mental treatment and ordering his commitment to the Madden State Hospital pursuant to the Illinois Mental Health Code. *fn1 Respondent contends on appeal.

1. A determination that a mentally ill person is likely to injure others or himself requires proof of prior dangerous behavior; and in the absence of proof of prior dangerous behavior, civil commitment is preventive detention, and violative of due process;

2. The petition for emergency commitment was inadequate in that it did not meet the requirements of the Mental Health Code, and failed to meet the notice requirement of due process;

3. The standard of proof for civil commitment must be proof beyond a reasonable doubt, not preponderance of the evidence;

4. Respondent was unlawfully placed in former jeopardy in that he was found not to be in need of mental treatment in a prior civil commitment proceeding; and

5. Respondent was not certified within 24 hours after his admission to the hospital to be in need of treatment.

In an emergency petition *fn2 signed by Mrs. Mary Fleming, the assistant director of Social Services, Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County, respondent was alleged to be in need of mental treatment. The petition stated that the facts may be established by the attached certificate of Dr. S. Lipkin. The space provided for the names of witnesses who would testify in support of the allegations in the petition was left blank. Petitioner based her belief that an emergency existed on "[h]istory of behavior and psychological and psychiatric examination done on August 18, 1972, at the Psychiatric Institute of the Circuit Court of Cook County."

On August 18, 1972, respondent was admitted to the Chicago Reed Mental Health Center. Within 24 hours of his admission, respondent was examined by a psychiatrist, Dr. Vieland. This certificate does not appear in the record, but its contents were read into the record by the assistant State's Attorney:

"Patient is cooperative during interview, he is orientated, able to answer questions but is somewhat agitated, appeared to be delusional of grandiose nature. According to him he was U.S. Senator and, as far back as 1946 he was the only child lobbyist who was in Washington written about in newspapers. He was about 14 years old then and the diagnosis is schizophrenic paranoid type."

On August 25, 1972, the State requested that the hearing on the petition be continued to allow a more thorough evaluation of respondent's condition.

On August 30, 1972, the hearing was held, and respondent moved to dismiss the petition on the grounds that petitioner failed to state adequate reasons for her belief that an emergency existed, that the petition placed respondent in former jeopardy, and that respondent was not certified as in need of mental treatment within 24 hours after his admission to the hospital. The petition was orally amended by stipulation of counsel to add that respondent demonstrated delusions, confusion and impaired judgment. The trial court then denied respondent's motions.

A psychiatrist, Dr. Sarma, testified that he examined respondent on two occasions prior to the hearing, and found him "to be fairly orientated, but not completely orientated," and that respondent "showed quite * * * unrealistic thinking." Dr. Sarma found respondent to be suffering from "a thought disorder of a delusional nature." Respondent had told Dr. Sarma in an interview that he had been a Senator and Speaker of the House, and had campaigned with John F. Kennedy for the vice-presidency. He also related that he was police chief of Berwyn for 2 days, and that he had been arrested by a "cop who was crooked"; that people were always arresting him. He further related that his wife was shot on the White House lawn while he was a guard there, and that he had been shot through the head. At his first interview with Dr. Sarma, he stated that he had had an argument with him "the last time." He also stated that he had been arrested while he was ordering people from his property "on a federal order," and that persons were occupying his property illegally, and they were going to take his house, and that was the reason he was ordering them off his property. Dr. Sarma diagnosed respondent as a paranoid schizophrenic, and recommended hospitalization. He testified that respondent's statements concerning his arrests and his ordering people from his property strongly indicated that respondent believes "people are after him."

On cross-examination, Dr. Sarma testified that respondent was not dangerous to himself and was able to care for himself, but that he could be dangerous to others in that he "might start a fight with someone telling them to clear off of his property." Respondent never stated to Dr. Sarma that he would fight or injury anyone. The doctor also stated that he had known delusional patients who were not dangerous to others, but "not with this kind of a delusional material," i.e., delusions regarding law enforcement and law officers. Dr. Sarma testified that he could not predict when respondent would become dangerous, and could not give any degree of probability of respondent's dangerousness.

On re-direct examination, Dr. Sarma testified that respondent would have difficulty functioning if he were released.

A social worker, Lynn Appelt, testified that she spoke to respondent during his first stay at the hospital (July 20, 1972, to July 28, 1972) after his arrest. Respondent was "quite cooperative," but did not remember the reason for his arrest. She stated that respondent told her that he had been shot in the eye 4 years ago, and that this occurred every 4 years, but that he did not know who the perpetrators were. After this interview respondent was returned to the House of Correction, and later readmitted to the hospital. On this occasion, he told the witness that one of his children had been shot, but he could not relate any facts of the shooting. He also stated that he had changed the title to his house three times because people were trying to take the house from him. Finally, he told the witness that Mary Fleming (who had signed the emergency petition) had murdered a person in his presence, and that there was a warrant out for her arrest.

On cross-examination, this witness testified that respondent was very cooperative in the hospital; that he never attempted to injure another patient. After an objection was sustained to a question regarding a prior commitment hearing, counsel made an offer of proof that the witness saw respondent in court earlier in the month, and that at that time respondent was found not to be in need of mental treatment.

Thereafter the State rested, and respondent offered no evidence. The court found respondent to be in need of mental treatment, and ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.