PDA

View Full Version : defense attorney/police officer/psychiatrist-US



wsmeg
09-28-2012, 12:28 AM
I have no knowledge of the intricacies of the judicial system (US). I Would appreciate the help if anyone has answers.

A sixteen-year-old, diagnosed with schizophrenia is voluntarily committed to a psychiatric facility by his parents. While there, he is accused of murdering another patient.

1- Do the police have to notify his parents before questioning him? Would they question him there or take him to the police station. He would only have a lawyer present after he was charged and read miranda rights, but not during questioning is this correct?


2 - Once charged, would he go back to a psychiatric facility or jail while he awaits trial? I imagine they wouldn't mix teenagers with adults and wouldn't put a teenager who is violent criminal offender with other non-violent psychiatric teen patients.

It's intricate to the plot that at some point he is in the detective's office, preferably without an attorney or parent.


Any help is appreciated.

jclarkdawe
09-28-2012, 01:07 AM
I have no knowledge of the intricacies of the judicial system (US). I Would appreciate the help if anyone has answers.

A sixteen-year-old, diagnosed with schizophrenia is voluntarily committed to a psychiatric facility by his parents. While there, he is accused of murdering another patient. Eh, not terribly probable, but I'll accept it. There's a limit to how long his parents can voluntarily commit him before he becomes eligible for a court hearing.

1- Do the police have to notify his parents before questioning him? And get the doctor's permission as well. Major issues of his competency have already arisen. Further, I doubt that questioning him would get anything useful. If he's a schizophrenic who murdered someone, he's probably in a delusional state. Would they question him there or take him to the police station. I doubt they'd question him, but if they did, it would be at the hospital. He would only have a lawyer present after he was charged and read miranda rights, but not during questioning is this correct? You're entitled to an attorney during questioning if you request one. My guess is no prosecutor in his or her right mind would allow anyone to question this guy until an attorney is appointed. As I said, there are major competency issues here. Although you can get schizophrenics competent, that's not usually the state they are in when they commit a murder. Take a look at Jared Loughner. Classic schizophrenic court experience.


2 - Once charged, would he go back to a psychiatric facility or jail while he awaits trial? If the state has a secure psychiatric facility for juveniles, he would stay there until he is competent. I imagine they wouldn't mix teenagers with adults and wouldn't put a teenager who is violent criminal offender with other non-violent psychiatric teen patients. You can't mix adult and juvenile offenders. He's going to be kept in isolation until his meds (if he's willing to take them and/or a judge orders them to be administered) make him safe.

It's intricate to the plot that at some point he is in the detective's office, preferably without an attorney or parent. You can do it, but it will not be realistic.


Any help is appreciated.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

John342
09-28-2012, 01:17 AM
I have no knowledge of the intricacies of the judicial system (US). I Would appreciate the help if anyone has answers.

A sixteen-year-old, diagnosed with schizophrenia is voluntarily committed to a psychiatric facility by his parents. While there, he is accused of murdering another patient. I have a little different view than Jim (naturally since I'm the police.) This whole thing depends on how fast notification is made to the police. Institutions are notorious for not telling anyone about it right away. Because both of the people (victim and offender) are their responsibility. Their first notion is to figure out how to explain it so they aren't at fault. So if, the police are notified promptly, my comments apply. If they contact the parents first then they will probably have a lawyer waiting for the police when they arrive.

1- Do the police have to notify his parents before questioning him? Would they question him there or take him to the police station. He would only have a lawyer present after he was charged and read miranda rights, but not during questioning is this correct? Yes the police would want to question him. Yes they would do so at the hospital most likely. Yes they would mirandize him, and no they would not make sure he had a lawyer present. Would this be challenged by the defense in a trial, absolutely... But it is quite often anyways.


2 - Once charged, would he go back to a psychiatric facility or jail while he awaits trial? I imagine they wouldn't mix teenagers with adults and wouldn't put a teenager who is violent criminal offender with other non-violent psychiatric teen patients. If charged he would be remanded to a jail medical facility. In solitary confinement most likely.

It's intricate to the plot that at some point he is in the detective's office, preferably without an attorney or parent.
You can do this, but it would be a huge risk for the police to have a nut case murderer just sitting in an office. Find a way to explain it.

Any help is appreciated.

John

jclarkdawe
09-28-2012, 02:47 AM
One of the differences in John's answer and mine is we're viewing your patient at different levels of sanity. I'm assuming if you can get him committed to a hospital, he's going to be pretty delusional. Although this is a "voluntary" admission by the parents, he's going to need to be near the line of being dangerous to himself or others. (You can't just throw your kids into a psych hospital these days, much as many parents would love to.)

And as John says, psych hospitals have a tendency to want to investigate before the police are called. Further, they have a tendency to want to protect their patients from invasive outside influences that are going to stress them. This can include police and defense attorneys.

Schizophrenics are legally interesting people to deal with. Properly medicated and they're well within the parameters of the legal system to deal with. Unmedicated and they can have no idea what's going on. It's a wide range and until you decide where in that range your character is, the question is hard to answer.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

wsmeg
09-28-2012, 09:59 AM
Thank you guys. Your expertise was very helpful and it made me realize some things that weren't well thought out. I should have written my question more clearly. I now realize, committed isn't the best choice of words. I should have written— admitted for acute inpatient care.
Your questions also led me to this —
"Any minor thirteen years or older who voluntarily admitted to an evaluation and treatment facility with the consent of his/her parents may give notice of intent to leave at any time.
The notice has to be written and intent discerned.
The professional person must discharge the minor from the facility immediately upon receiving the notice of intent to leave. "

— which helps me tremendously.

On further reading I realize the character doesn't meet DSM-IV criteria for schizophrenia in both social/occupational dysfunction and duration. Brief Psychotic Disorder - would be the diagnosis most fitting. Just so you know he's not psychotic or a killer. Thanks for the help. If anyone else has anything to add, I'll be checking back.

WeaselFire
09-28-2012, 05:32 PM
He would only have a lawyer present after he was charged and read miranda rights, but not during questioning is this correct?
Officers who believe they will use a statement will always give a warning. Minors, in some jurisdictions, are provided special warnings. If the kid is already in questionable mental state, no officer/investigator that plans on a long career wouldn't make every effort to satisfy the defense attorney's objections.

Every jurisdiction has a set of warnings they are required to use, some include special additional wording. And they will do this any time a person is in custody, which could be as simple as confined to the institution.

By the way, Miranda doesn't actually specify and specific rights, just a ruling on what can disqualify evidence. :)


It's intricate to the plot that at some point he is in the detective's office, preferably without an attorney or parent.

Never happens in reality. Closest would be if he was not a suspect and stopped in to tell the detective what he knew. Not sure how that would work into the plot, or that you could ever easily use it as evidence. Cops do gather a ton of information that never gets used in court because they can't meet the rules of evidence.

Jeff

ArtsyAmy
10-01-2012, 05:49 PM
Your questions also led me to this
"Any minor thirteen years or older who voluntarily admitted to an evaluation and treatment facility with the consent of his/her parents may give notice of intent to leave at any time.
The notice has to be written and intent discerned.
The professional person must discharge the minor from the facility immediately upon receiving the notice of intent to leave. "

which helps me tremendously.



Many of my adolescent psychiatric clients were admitted to psychiatric hospitals as part of a continuum of treatment, but it's been close to twenty years since I was in that line of work. I'm not familiar with the code you quote. Of course, codes change, and my memory isn't perfect. Is it state code, which wouldn't be applicable everywhere in the US? Even if that code were applicable, I'm not sure an adolescent patient would be aware of it--probably one of those situations where a person has a right, but has no idea that he has it. I doubt that upon admission to the hospital, someone would sit down with the patient and thoroughly explain that he could leave any time he wanted to, all he'd have to do is write down his request and he'd be immediately released. (I could be wrong--maybe such a talk would be required--just my feeling on this.) Likewise, hospital staff probably wouldn't regularly mention that he could leave any time he wanted to, that he would just have to give them his writen request to do so.

Also, I think that the police would likely step even more carefully than usual when dealing with a suspect who is not an adult, and who is a patient at a psychiatric hospital.

ULTRAGOTHA
10-02-2012, 12:34 AM
first, it would probably help the professionals if they knew what state this was happennig in. Laws vary wildly by state.

I'm not a professional but I do read alot. As a reader, I would be disbelieving of the police removing a patient from *any* hospital for questioning. I'd also be disbelieving of an officer leaving a suspect alone in hir office even with a parent and/or lawyer (they have interrogation rooms after all) and doubly so if the person was a psychiatric patient.

I'd be skeptical of a parent who allowed hir 16 year old psychiatric child to be questioned by police without a parent and a lawyer present even if he'd been discharged from the hospital.

There have been murders and assaults at psychiatric facilities in the past. Maybe googling some of those cases would help you.