Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 88 CR 6136 Honorable Timothy J. Chambers, Judge Presiding.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Tully
Defendant appeals from two orders of the circuit court of Cook County which denied his motion for discharge or conditional release from the custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services (the Department), and granted the State's motion to amend his "Thiem date," the designated date marking the end of the maximum period of his involuntary commitment. He maintains that the trial court's ruling on his motion was manifestly erroneous and in violation of his due process rights, and that the court erred in granting the State's motion in the absence of authority or proper evidence.
We affirm in part, reverse in part, and remand with directions.
On March 7, 1989, defendant was found not guilty by reason of insanity (NGRI) on charges of attempted murder, aggravated battery and armed violence arising out of an attack on his father. He was found to be in need of inpatient mental health treatment and was remanded to the Elgin Mental Health Center. In accordance with section 5-2-4(b) of the Unified Code of Corrections (the Code) (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1989, ch. 38, par. 1005-2-4, recodified as amended at 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(b) (West 2002)) a date establishing the maximum period of his involuntary commitment, or Thiem date (see People v. Thiem, 82 Ill. App. 3d 950, 962 (1980)), was established as December 12, 2002.
Defendant absented himself from the Elgin facility on May 23, 1990, after receiving grounds pass privileges, or, to use the parlance of the mental health profession, defendant "eloped" from the facility. On March 14, 1994, defendant surrendered himself in Seattle, Washington, and was sent to the Chester Mental Health Center. On September 5, 1996, he was transferred back to Elgin, and, in 1999, he was moved to the Alton Mental Health Center.
A treatment team at the Alton facility issued a report to the court on October 24, 2000. The report stated that defendant did not exhibit any signs or symptoms of a major mental illness, and that he had not been a behavior problem during this residency. The report also reflected that defendant has a master's degree and that he reads frequently, that he discusses his treatment plan and legal issues with his treatment manager and that he has agreed to link with a community mental health clinic upon discharge. Defendant has also verbalized that his assault on his father was irrational, that the use of violence is not a viable, problem solving tool, and that in the future he would walk away from an argument rather than solve a dispute with violence.
The team, however, diagnosed him with an Axis II personality disorder, not otherwise specified, and reported that he displays rigid thinking "with narcissistic-perception of the situation." The team concluded that defendant had made progress, but in its opinion, his current placement continued to be appropriate. *fn1
On December 14, 2000, defendant, through counsel, filed a petition for discharge or conditional release pursuant to section 5-2-4(e) of the Code. See 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(e) (West 2000). Defendant alleged that he was not suffering from any mental illness, that he was not subject to involuntary admission, and that he was not in need of mental health services on an inpatient basis. See 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(a)(1)(A), (B) (West 2000).
On February 6, 2001, the State filed a motion to amend defendant's Thiem date to October 2, 2006, to reflect the nearly four years defendant had absented himself from the treatment facility and was not receiving treatment as ordered. Defendant responded with a motion to dismiss claiming that there was no legal authority to provide for such an extension.
A hearing on both motions was held on October 12, 2001. At the commencement of proceedings, defendant expressed his wish to represent himself or have the court appoint another attorney. Defendant acknowledged the previous replacement of another assistant public defender at his request, and the trial court informed him that he could not pick and choose among appointed counsel. The trial court also attempted to dissuade defendant from representing himself, but finally acceded to his request.
Dr. Carmen Mahmood, defendant's treating psychiatrist, was the only witness to testify at the hearing. After she was qualified as an expert in the field of forensic psychiatry, she testified for the State that she has been treating defendant for two years at Alton. Although defendant had the burden of proof and the burden of going forward with the evidence, the trial court allowed the State to proceed directly to its case in chief and present the testimony of Dr. Mahmood on direct examination. See 730 ILCS 5/5-2-4(g) (West 2000). Defendant did not object to the procedure and the record on appeal contains no explanation for the procedure used by the trial court. Dr. Mahmood believed that defendant was fit to appear in the hearing since he understands the significance of the proceedings, but she would not recommend his conditional release at this time.
Under cross-examination by defendant, pro se, Dr. Mahmood stated that before recommending conditional release, her team wanted to feel comfortable that defendant could take care of himself and adjust to the community without interference by his psychiatric illness. She stated that this would be accomplished through changing his setting from maximum to the less secure. Defendant had yet to ...