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People v. Hoffmann

OPINION FILED FEBRUARY 5, 1986.

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

v.

RONALD HOFFMANN, DEFENDANT-APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Arthur J. Cieslik, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE WHITE DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Defendant Ronald Hoffmann appeals from the trial court's denial of his petition for release or conditional discharge from the Illinois Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities (Department of Mental Health).

The record reveals that in 1973 defendant was diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia and placed on a treatment program. In July 1978, contrary to his doctor's advice, defendant discontinued his treatment program and stopped taking his medication. Approximately four months later, defendant shot and killed Emanuel Dahl and Sophie Schwarz in two unrelated and unprovoked attacks. Subsequently, defendant was charged with two counts of murder in two separate indictments. By order of court, two psychiatrists examined defendant and found him not fit to stand trial and in need of mental treatment. He was then placed in the custody of the Department of Mental Health.

In a hearing on November 18, 1980, defendant was found fit to stand trial, and after a bench trial he was acquitted of both murders by reason of insanity. The trial court entered an order finding defendant in need of mental treatment and committed him to the Department of Mental Health for inpatient mental treatment until further order. Defendant was placed with the Elgin Mental Health Center (Elgin Center), a facility within the Department of Mental Health system.

On June 2, 1983, pursuant to the request of the Department of Mental Health, the court entered an order allowing defendant four weekend passes. On November 28, 1983, defendant filed a petition for discharge or conditional release pursuant to section 5-2-4(e) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(e)) alleging that he was no longer subject to involuntary admission and that a hearing should be held to determine his eligibility for discharge from the Department of Mental Health.

A hearing on the petition was held on May 30, 1984. In support of his petition for discharge, defendant offered into evidence the testimony of two certified psychiatrists, Dr. Allen Cunnie and Dr. Edith Hartman. Dr. Cunnie testified that in 1983 he interviewed and examined defendant for the purpose of determining whether defendant was eligible for outpatient treatment. He testified further that in 1984, pursuant to defendant's request, he examined and interviewed defendant, reviewed defendant's psychiatric records, and spoke with defendant's treating physician to prepare to testify as to his opinion of defendant's mental condition. Based on his observations, Dr. Cunnie found that defendant was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia in remission, and that it was essential that defendant take Navane, his antipsychotic medication. On cross-examination, Dr. Cunnie revealed that defendant had an alcohol abuse disorder that was also in remission. He added that should defendant resume drinking alcohol, it would interfere with his medication and defendant would lose control. He stated further that defendant distrusted psychiatrists and that defendant had the ability to conceal symptoms of his illness. Although Dr. Cunnie stated that he could give no opinion as to whether defendant would be dangerous to himself or others in the near future, he concluded that defendant was an eligible candidate for outpatient treatment.

Dr. Hartman, defendant's current treating psychiatrist at the Elgin Center, testified next. She stated that in 1979, as a staff psychiatrist at the Illinois State Psychiatric Institute (ISPI), she treated defendant and evaluated his fitness to stand trial for the two killings. Dr. Hartman again came in contact with defendant in 1982 as his treating psychiatrist at the Elgin Center. There she diagnosed defendant as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, but concluded that he was no longer psychotic. She testified that during defendant's confinement at the Elgin Center, he cooperated very well and had on-ground privileges. However, she revealed that recently defendant had become more argumentative to conversational remarks and had exhibited a more guarded, nervous and tense behavior. Dr. Hartman stated that, as a precautionary measure, she increased defendant's dosage of Navane in March 1984 to give him a better stress tolerance. Under cross-examination, she revealed that in 1984 defendant experienced tremendous stress when he participated in weekend home visits. It was Dr. Hartman's opinion that with medication and outpatient supervision, defendant could be rehabilitated and become a member of the community.

Dr. Werner Tuteur, a court appointed, certified psychiatrist, and Elizabeth Morrison, a clinical social worker, both testified for the State in opposition to defendant's petition for discharge.

Dr. Tuteur examined defendant on three occasions: December 1983, and February and May 1984. Dr. Tuteur reviewed reports of other doctors' examinations of defendant and defendant's psychiatric records for the purpose of determining whether defendant should be treated as an outpatient or allowed home visits. On the basis of his observation, he diagnosed defendant as suffering from psychosis and paranoid schizophrenia, in partial remission. Dr. Tuteur testified that in his opinion, defendant should not be treated as an outpatient, nor should he receive off-ground passes for home visits. He based his conclusion on: defendant's longstanding schizophrenic illness, approximately 10 years; his on-going inadequacy; defendant's on-going sensitivity toward others' harmless conversational remarks; violence-oriented remarks made by defendant to other persons, to wit, "Do you think I am hallucinating. If you fool with me eighty men will go down." Dr. Tuteur added further that defendant was becoming increasingly unable to deal with the day-to-day stress he faced in the controlled environment of the Elgin Center. He therefore opined that defendant would be unable to handle the increased stress of an uncontrolled environment. Dr. Tuteur added that: defendant was very careful about what he told his doctors and that this was an indication that there were other impulses deep in his mind which he was guarding; defendant's ability to control these suppressed impulses was very brittle and could break down at any time, particularly if he were placed in the more stressful environment outside the Elgin Center; and defendant remained rigid and guarded with a considerable relapse potential. Dr. Tuteur concluded by explaining that as long as defendant remained psychotic he would continue to be dangerous to himself and others. He therefore believed that defendant remained in need of mental treatment on an inpatient basis.

Morrison testified as an expert in the field of sociology. She conducted a psychosocial evaluation of defendant and his family for the purpose of assessing defendant's family's capacity to receive him into their home and to assist him in rehabilitation. She was of the opinion that defendant's parents' lack of insight into his illness and their high levels of anxiety could be stressful for defendant. Morrison concluded that defendant's family was not capable of assisting him in rehabilitation in their home.

After hearing the testimony, the trial court denied defendant's petition, finding that defendant was not entitled to discharge from the Department of Mental Health. On appeal, defendant argues that the trial court erred in (1) allowing testimony by Dr. Tuteur, (2) allowing the testimony of Morrison, (3) restricting the redirect testimony of Dr. Hartman, and (4) denying his petition for discharge.

Initially, we address the question of whether the trial court erred in allowing Dr. Tuteur, a full-time employee of the Department of Mental Health, to testify at defendant's discharge hearing. After defendant filed his petition for discharge, the State, pursuant to section 5-2-4(f) of the Unified Code of Corrections (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4(f)), petitioned the court to order Dr. Tuteur to perform an examination of defendant the results of which were to be considered at his discharge hearing. Defendant raised no objections to the State's request. However, at trial, after stipulating as to Dr. Tuteur's qualifications to testify as an expert in the field of psychiatry, defendant objected to Dr. Tuteur's appointment to the case. Over defendant's objection, the trial court allowed Dr. Tuteur to testify about the results of his examination of defendant.

Defendant charges error in the trial court's action on the basis of section 5-2-4(f), which provides:

"If requested by either the State or the defense or if the Court feels it is appropriate, an impartial examination of the defendant by a psychiatrist or clinical psychologist as defined in Section 1-103 of the Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Code who is not in the employ of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities shall be ordered, and the ...


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