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In Re Ottolini

OPINION FILED JULY 13, 1979.

IN RE ANGELO OTTOLINI. — (THE PEOPLE EX REL. R.C. STECK, PETITIONER-APPELLEE,

v.

ANGELO OTTOLINI, RESPONDENT-APPELLANT.)



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Union County; the Hon. D.D. BIGLER, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE KARNS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 7, 1979.

Respondent, Angelo Ottolini, appeals from a judgment of the Circuit Court of Union County entered pursuant to the periodic review provisions of the Mental Health Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-2). The court ordered respondent to remain hospitalized under the care of the Department of Mental Health at the Anna Mental Health and Development Center.

The evidence adduced at the hearing indicated that respondent was initially committed to a mental institution in 1937 after being declared incompetent to stand trial for murder. This initial commitment was followed by intermittent periods of commitment and release until 1952 when he was committed for a continuous period of time. Eventually, he was transferred to the Anna Mental Health and Development Center where he remains today.

On March 10, 1976, the superintendent of the Anna Mental Health and Development Center filed a notice with the court of the patient's need for continued hospitalization. Respondent did not request a hearing and on March 25, 1976, the court entered an order finding respondent in need of further mental treatment. Two years later, pursuant to the provisions of the Illinois Mental Health Code, the superintendent again filed a notice with the court of the patient's need for hospitalization. The respondent secured the services of an attorney who filed a request for a hearing.

At the hearing, Dr. Clarence E. Boyd, staff psychiatrist of the Anna Mental Health and Development Center, testified for the State. Dr. Boyd testified that on March 10, 1978, he interviewed respondent at the Anna Mental Health and Development Center and elicited the following information. Initially, respondent had been hospitalized in 1937 after killing his neighbor. The respondent believed the neighbor, along with others, was trying to kill him in several bizarre manners. These methods included the electrification of a chicken coop; driving him out of his house in cold weather; and the extraction of fluid from his penis utilizing rays from their eyes. Dr. Boyd testified that respondent suffers from delusions of persecution along with auditory and other types of hallucinations. He often strikes his ears in an effort to shake up voices which he claims lie to him, and refuses to use electric cigarette lighters for fear of being electrocuted. The respondent, according to Dr. Boyd's testimony, often rubs his eyes because certain people, by using laser beams, are causing them to burn. The respondent once complained to a nurse that someone had been using laser beams on his feet, but later denied this report to Dr. Boyd saying instead that someone had cut his feet with a razor blade while he slept. The respondent told Dr. Boyd that if faced again with the same situation that precipitated the killing for which he was initially hospitalized in 1937 he would behave in the same fashion.

Dr. Boyd diagnosed respondent as suffering from schizophrenia of the paranoid type. He opined that the psychosis which precipitated the killing continued to be present in respondent and that he was potentially dangerous to others, as well as himself, although to a lesser degree. Dr. Boyd expressed the opinion that respondent was in need of continued mental treatment in a controlled environment. With certain safeguards and conditions, a sheltered care home would be a possibility in the future. For the present, however, Dr. Boyd believed respondent should remain hospitalized at the mental health and development center.

On cross-examination, Dr. Boyd indicated that he relied most heavily on the March 10 examination for his opinion that there had been no basic change in respondent. Dr. Boyd also stated that during the March 10 examination he did not inform respondent of any Miranda style warnings.

Dr. Elya Bresler, a clinical psychologist at the Anna Mental Health and Development Center, testified on behalf of respondent. He indicated that he had seen respondent on an almost daily basis since 1977, but had never had a consultation with him on an individual basis. Dr. Bresler stated that respondent was suffering from a mental illness, but did not believe respondent was reasonably likely to cause physical harm to himself or others. Moreover, he testified that respondent could maintain his basic needs and functions in a supervised environment. Dr. Bresler, on cross-examination, admitted he had observed respondent's delusions but refused to testify to their specific content based on the psychologist/patient privilege of confidentiality.

The court found respondent in need of continued hospitalization and found that it could best be administered by the Anna Mental Health and Development Center.

Respondent contends that the trial court erred in admitting the testimony of psychiatrist Dr. Clarence E. Boyd which respondent alleges was inadmissible hearsay; that the trial court committed constitutional error by committing respondent to the Anna Mental Health and Development Center based on psychiatric interviews where he was not informed of a right to remain silent; that the order of the trial court committing respondent was contrary to the manifest weight of the evidence; that the trial court erred in not exhausting less restrictive treatment alternatives prior to ordering respondent to the Anna Mental Health and Development Center; and that the trial court erred in refusing to enter a commitment order of definite duration.

Initially, we note that a mental commitment proceeding of this nature is for the benefit of both the public and the patient. In this light the court, in People v. Sansone, 18 Ill. App.3d 315, 322, 309 N.E.2d 733, 738 (1974), stated:

"Inherent in civil commitment proceedings is the promise of the State, under a parens patriae theory, that the person who is being deprived of his liberty will receive treatment. * * * The procedures set forth in the Illinois Mental Health Code are a legislative recognition that civil commitment is a deprivation of personal liberty, and their purpose is to provide adequate safeguards against unreasonable detention and commitment."

Moreover, our supreme court in In re Stephenson, 67 Ill.2d 544, 554, 367 N.E.2d 1273, 1276-77 (1977), stated that the Mental Health Code, ...


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