Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Robert
L. Massey, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE MEJDA DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Petitioner, Howard Lee, appeals from the judgment of the circuit court which denied his petition for a writ of habeas corpus by which he had sought his release from the custody of the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (hereinafter the Department). The Department has maintained custody of petitioner since 1977, pursuant to a court order which committed him following a finding that he was not guilty of murder by reason of insanity. Petitioner raises three issues for review. First, he contends that the trial court erred in retroactively applying the amended post-acquittal confinement statute to him in violation of the ex post facto clauses of both the Illinois and United States Constitutions. Second, he asserts that in the absence of a hearing, his confinement violates due process principles. Third, he argues that, in the absence of a hearing, his commitment violates his right to equal protection. For the reasons which follow, we affirm and remand with directions.
As a prelude to our discussion of the facts of this case, we observe that the legislature has at various times amended the statutes pertaining to our disposition of this appeal. Because the timing and applicability of these statutes forms the crux of each of the issues before us, we will note these statutory developments in our factual discussion.
On January 20, 1977, petitioner was found not guilty of murder by reason of insanity after a bench trial. On February 3, 1977, the trial court found that petitioner had not recovered from his insanity and committed him to the custody of the Department of Mental Health pursuant to section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b)). This statute authorized confinement for an "initial period not to exceed 12 months." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b).) The order of confinement "shall be in the form of and shall produce the same effects and subsequent review proceedings as an order of hospitalization under the Mental Health Code of 1967 [Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, pars. 6-6, 9-6] * * *. The admission, detention, care, treatment, and discharge of the defendant after such order shall be under the Mental Health Code." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b).
Article X of the Mental Health Code provided two methods by which a person could obtain release from the custody of the Department of Mental Health. First, he could petition for discharge. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-1.) The standard for release under this section was "that the patient is no longer in need of hospitalization for mental treatment * * *." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-1.) The Mental Health Code defined a person in need of mental treatment as one who, as a result of a mental disorder, "* * * is reasonably expected at the time the determination is being made or within a reasonable time thereafter to intentionally or unintentionally physically injure himself or other persons, or is unable to care for himself so as to guard himself from physical injury or to provide for his own physical needs." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 1-11.) The second method by which a committed person could obtain release was for the superintendent of the hospital in which the person was hospitalized to grant an absolute or a conditional discharge. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-4.) The standard for release under this section was that the patient should be released if he "* * * is no longer in need of hospitalization under such rules and regulations as may be adopted by the Department." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-4.) Although the statute required that notice of an absolute discharge be provided to the court which had entered the original order of hospitalization, the Mental Health Code did not provide for judicial review of the decision to discharge a patient. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 91 1/2, par. 10-4.
On August 1, 1977, Public Act 80-164 became effective, amending section 5-2-4 of the Unified Code of Corrections. This act effected two major modifications of the existing statute. First, it replaced the former 12-month initial confinement period with an indefinite period of commitment, limited to the maximum length of time which the defendant could have served had he been convicted of and received the maximum sentence for the most serious crime for which he was acquitted by reason of insanity. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(b).) The second change in the statute was the requirement that notice of a proposed discharge be provided to both the circuit court and the State's Attorney, either of whom could object. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(d)(2).) In such a case, the superintendent could not discharge a patient until after a hearing (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(d)(2)), and the decision to discharge was then no longer that of the superintendent but that of the court (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1977, ch. 38, pars. 1005-2-4(g), (h) and (i)).
On February 3, 1978, petitioner's initial commitment period expired.
Effective January 1, 1979, the Mental Health Code of 1967 was repealed and replaced with the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code (the MHDDC) by Public Act 80-1414. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, par. 6-106.) Under the MHDDC, a person transferred to the custody of the Department of Mental Health by the Department of Corrections under the Unified Code of Corrections may be released "* * * only as provided in the Unified Code of Corrections, as now or hereafter amended." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 91 1/2, par. 3-200.
On September 18, 1980, Public Act 81-1497 became effective. This statute substantially changed the procedure which followed a determination of not guilty by reason of insanity. The Act provides that after such a finding or verdict:
"(a) * * * the defendant shall be ordered to the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities for an evaluation as to whether he is subject to involuntary admission or in need of mental health services. The order shall specify whether the evaluation shall be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis.
The Department shall provide the Court with a report of its evaluation within 30 days of the date of this order. The Court shall hold a hearing as provided under the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code of 1978 to determine if the individual is: (a) subject to involuntary admission; (b) in need of mental health services on an inpatient basis; (c) in need of mental health services on an outpatient basis; (d) a person not in need of mental health services. The Court shall enter its findings.
If the defendant is found to be subject to involuntary admission or in need of mental health services on an inpatient care basis, the court shall order the defendant to a facility of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
(Ill. Rev. Stat., 1980 Supp., ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(a).)
The Act also adopted this classification system in discharge proceedings. (Ill. Rev. Stat., 1980 Supp., ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(h).) Public Act 81-1497 also provided that "[t]his amendatory Act shall apply to all persons who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity and who are presently committed to the Department of Mental Health ...