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People v. Barichello

May 07, 1999


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Greiman

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County.

The Honorable Mary Ellen Coghlan, Judge Presiding.

Defendant Daniel Barichello appeals from a ruling of the circuit court finding him subject to involuntary admission pursuant to section 104-25(g)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1963 (Code of Criminal Procedure)(725 ILCS 5/104-25(g)(2) (West 1996)). Defendant contends that: (1) the circuit court erred by applying the wrong standard to the proceedings; (2) confinement under the standard employed violated his rights to due process and equal protection; and (3) the State failed to prove that he is subject to involuntary confinement.

For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

The essential procedural facts of this case were set forth in Barichello v. Campagna, 276 Ill. App. 3d 269 (1995). On September 29, 1983, defendant was found unfit to stand trial on charges of murder and the court committed him to the custody of the Department of Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities *fn1 (the Department) pursuant to section 104-17 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 104-17 (now 725 ILCS 5/104-17 (West 1996))). After a discharge hearing pursuant to section 104-25 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 104-25 (now 725 ILCS 5/104-25 (West 1996))), the circuit court determined that the State presented sufficient evidence to show that defendant should not be acquitted. The court remanded him to the custody of the Department for extended treatment under section 104-25(d) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 104-25(d) (now 725 ILCS 5/104-25(d) (West 1996))). In June 1989, at the expiration of the extended treatment period, the circuit court committed defendant to the custody of the Elgin Mental Health Center under section 104-25(g)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 104-25(g)(2) (now 725 ILCS 5/104-25(g)(2) (West 1996))).

In Barichello v. Campagna, 276 Ill. App. 3d at 272, this court ruled that the Department erred when it failed to regularly file recommitment proceedings after the June 1989 ruling. This court held, however, that the remedy for this error was not release of the defendant and that the circuit court properly granted the Department leave to file a commitment petition instanter.

In June 1997, the circuit court entered an order pursuant to section 104-25(g)(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (725 ILCS 104-25(g)(2) (West 1996)), finding defendant presently in need of inpatient services. The circuit court remanded defendant to the Department in a secure setting for a period not to exceed a period ending June 27, 2023. The court set the matter for rehearing in October 1997.

In October 1997, the staff at the Elgin Mental Health Center sent a report to the circuit court indicating that defendant continued to be in need of mental health treatment on an inpatient basis. On December 3, 1997, the circuit court also received a report from Dr. Albert Stipes regarding defendant's condition.

At a hearing on January 13, 1998, the State called Dr. John Raftery, a psychiatrist at the Elgin Mental Health Center, who testified that defendant had been found unfit for trial on a murder charge. Raftery had learned that the murder occurred in 1979 and thereafter, in 1983, defendant confessed to the police. Defendant indicated that on the day of the crime he had gone to church with his family and then went to the home of his friend, the victim. As they talked, defendant saw a knife on the coffee table. He picked up the knife and began to play with it. Defendant then stabbed the man in the chest. The man protested and defendant stabbed him 52 times. Raftery pointed out the sudden and unexpected nature of the crime. Defendant later explained that he thought the man was potentially dangerous or harmful to him.

Raftery further testified that defendant was first considered to have a psychiatric illness in 1979 and was hospitalized at a different facility. Defendant was hospitalized several times until 1983. When defendant came into the State's custody in 1983, he was placed in the Chester Mental Health Center for five years in an attempt to make him fit to stand trial. From 1985 to 1987, defendant was very withdrawn and isolative. He was suspicious of other people and described paranoid hallucinations and delusions. There were episodes in which he became aggressive and violent so as to require restraints. During that period, defendant made very little progress in his treatment. After that time, defendant made gradual improvements and was transferred to the Elgin facility in 1991.

Raftery stated that in the last few years defendant's condition had improved, particularly since he began taking a drug called Risperidone. Defendant had been given unsupervised on-grounds passes and had generally been free of active psychotic symptoms, hallucinations, and delusions, although it has been noted that he still has some degree of formal thought disorder, which is a residual symptom of his schizophrenic psychotic disorder. It is also noted that defendant tends to be somewhat withdrawn and is reluctant to participate in some activities. There are certain people that he prefers not to be around or certain groups that he prefers not to go to because he has uncomfortable feelings.

Raftery also stated that on December 5, 1997, defendant told him that he thought he may need to switch medications. Defendant was concerned about a relapse and whether he could manage when he was released from the hospital. Defendant told Raftery that, at times, he thought another patient was John Wayne Gacy, although he realized that was probably a "magical thought." Defendant also thought another person was someone else. Defendant felt at times that his roommates were harassing him but he was aware that these were probably symptoms. These symptoms concerned Raftery because they had not been noted for a while.

Raftery testified that Risperidone is a newer antipsychotic medication. Defendant has improved on the medication in terms of active psychotic symptoms, but based on the information Raftery learned in December, he did not believe that the Risperidone has resolved defendant's potential for delusional ideas.

Raftery observed that every time defendant experienced a change he became somewhat anxious and uncertain, to some degree symptomatic. Thus, Raftery recommended small, methodical movements in this case. Raftery added that defendant gradually adjusted and had done well after each change. Raftery did not know of any evidence to indicate that defendant ever tried to hurt himself while at Elgin. To Raftery's knowledge, defendant has not attempted to leave the center and he had no evidence of violence towards any other patient.

Raftery diagnosed defendant with the mental illness of paranoid schizophrenia. He is also considered to have schizo-affective disorder. In addition to the Risperidone, defendant takes Depakote, which is a mood stabilizing medicine. Raftery stated that the most significate part of defendant's illness is the schizophrenic part. When stressed, defendant's thinking becomes somewhat illogical, his association thoughts become loose or somewhat tangential and circumstantial, and his thinking becomes a little vague. He has the potential to have delusions, which are fixed false beliefs about other people or hallucinations. There was a time when ...

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