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In Re Presswood





APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. LAWRENCE I. GENESEN, Judge, presiding.


Following a bench trial, Henry Presswood, respondent, was found to be in need of mental treatment and remanded to the custody of the Department of Mental Health for hospitalization. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-11.) Presswood appeals, contending that the State failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that he was a person in need of mental treatment as defined in the Mental Health Code.

We affirm.

Respondent had been charged with the offense of burglary but on September 25, 1975, was found unfit to stand trial. The court then directed that a hearing be conducted in accord with the procedures of the Mental Health Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-1 et seq.) A social worker employed by the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute thereupon filed a petition on October 8, 1975, requesting an adjudiciation of respondent's need for hospitalization. Attached to this petition were two certificates of need for hospitalization prepared by Drs. Goldblatt and Siomopoulos, staff psychiatrists for the Illinois Department of Mental Health.

In his certificate Dr. Goldblatt stated that he examined Presswood on October 7, 1975, and found respondent to be "flat in affect, with reduced motor activity." He also exhibited "frequent inappropriate smiling" and "occasional apparent loss of contact" while "staring into space." Additionally, respondent demonstrated "poor orientation to person(s) and situation(s)" around him, and he spoke in a "vague" manner while he described impulsive destructive behavior. Dr. Goldblatt concluded that Presswood was in need of immediate mental treatment because he was "possibly dangerous to others."

Dr. Siomopoulos executed the second certificate and stated therein that he also performed a psychiatric interview of the respondent finding that Presswood "was circumstantial and at times irrelevant in his associations"; that "his affect was flat" and "inappropriate"; and that he was "suffering from schizophrenia." Dr. Siomopoulos concluded that Presswood was in need of mental treatment "because he is unable to care for himself." Both certificates recommended that the respondent be hospitalized.

The public defender was appointed to represent respondent, and the hearing in this matter was conducted on October 14, 1975. Two witnesses testified for the prosecution: Shirley Bell, Presswood's sister, and Dr. Siomopoulos.

The respondent's sister testified that she lived with her brother prior to his incarceration and hospitalization. Bell stated that "some days" Presswood "would be all right and some days he wouldn't. Some days he would talk right" and some days he would talk to himself. The witness also testified that respondent would not bathe, change his clothes or comb his hair unless someone directed him to do it. However, she admitted that when her brother was told to do these things, he would comply.

Bell further stated that respondent ate incessantly; that at times he would not allow children to go past him in the apartment hall; and that while out on bond for another criminal charge he missed a court date.

Presswood's sister also testified that although her brother was unemployed while living with her he was regularly receiving a monthly support check. However, she stated that respondent would spend the entire check in one day, and on one occasion she believed her brother used the money from the check to purchase wine and gifts and cigarettes for his friends.

When asked whether her brother became involved in altercations with other people, Bell stated: "He wouldn't actually fight. Maybe if he couldn't have things his way, he might stand outside and break a window, * * *." The witness then testified that her brother did break their apartment window with a rock on the day he was taken to jail. However, she conceded that Presswood had never tried to injure himself or others in her presence.

Bell testified that her brother was 22 years of age, and that he had been manifesting the described behavior pattern for a period of about two years since his return from Vandalia when he had been imprisoned about six months.

Dr. Siomopoulos testified: "My examination consisted of a formal psychiatric interview. It took place on the 6th of September. Mr. Presswood was at times coherent but mostly irrelevant and transitional and circumstantial in his associations. He kept smiling inappropriately throughout the interview. His responses were vague, extremely vague conveying very different information. For example, to the question whether he knew why he was unfit to stand trial he replied to quote him, — `He wanted a replacement.' I asked him who is he. He said, `The judge,' but he was unable to give his name, and then he said the judge told him to come back, but he was unable to elaborate on that and give more specific information.

"He was extremely concrete in his responses which is characteristic of schizophrenia and — for example, when I asked him how does he support himself, he replied, `I'm ...

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