Tuesday, August 2, 2016

To Congresswoman Jan Schakowski of Illinois

Dear Rep. Schakowski,

I am disappointed, although not surprised, that you chose to vote in favor of the Murphy bill (HR2646). Rather than just reflexively/reactively vote and campaign against you because of my fundamental disagreement with that political choice, I will try to communicate the basis of my original opposition and continuing advocacy regarding issues of mental health. I must presume an amount of patience on your part that may be inconsistent with your practical and simple time constraints. However, I invest my own valuable time in dialogue, as well. Perhaps it can become worthwhile for both of us.

"Mental health" first of all means a medicalized view of human thought, emotion and behavior. We presume modern medicine can add value to our problem solving in these realms of life. We look back over the past century and a half at apparent miracles: control or eradication of horrible diseases like smallpox and polio, success with ever more complex surgical procedures, big increases in survival rates for blood and other cancers. Why should we not want and expect such miracles to improve our rationality itself, our capacity for joy, and our social comity?

Our mental health "system" is based on one other presumption: M.D. psychiatrists, Ph.D./Psy.D. psychologists, licensed nurses and clinical social workers, and various other mental health professionals have special knowledge due to their education and training, which enables them to help people in general with problems in thinking, feeling and behaving. Whether or not this constitutes curing disease, and whether the brain is the entire substrate and ultimate explanation of all things human, are fascinating philosophical discussions, but well beyond my point here.

I have spent fourteen years working full time, almost entirely pro bono, dead center in our mental health system. By nine o'clock this morning I'd already had two half-hour phone conversations with individuals adjudicated unfit to stand trial on violent felonies. I've been attending monthly staffings for patients at Elgin Mental Health Center since before most of the employees out there were hired. When I attend the annual American Psychiatric Association conference, I recommend specific classes and seminars to staff at EMHC, encouraging them to attend. People at APA ironically call me "Doctor".

You refer to our mental health system as something that can be improved. My experience says it needs to be essentially abolished. It is an error, an absolute wrong turn by civilization, and it will ruin us.

I hastily qualify this statement to mean... not that we shouldn't strive for rationality and reason, not that we shouldn't help people in distress, not that we shouldn't regulate and improve behavior. These are all universal human purposes. They are frustrated rather than aided by everything that has been built up over the last century to become our "mental health system". In my opinion, human thinking, emotion and behavior are not medical issues at all. But regardless of that. it is clear to me that my taxes are more than wasted on the salaries and pensions of mental health professionals.

The so-euphemistically-called "Assertive Community Treatment" of HR2646 is in fact coercive psychiatry Tim Murphy, Fuller Torrey,  t he Treatment Advocacy Center (or Torture Advocacy Center, a name more accurately aligned with United Nations human rights standards, which still abbreviates to T.A.C.), et al, promote a cynical statistic of fewer people jailed. But I can refer you to a whole lineup of real individuals in Illinois who would prefer to be in an honest prison compared to the much more dehumanizing circumstances of state psychiatric control.

The only conceivable way a "treatment policy" could save public money and human lives over a "jail policy" is if treatment actually worked. It does not, and that is an increasingly recognized fact. The APA's "antipsychiatry" bogeyman and their "stigma" justification cannot obscure admissions by such as Thomas Insel, M.D., recent Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (in sum: psychiatric diagnosis is invalid, psychiatric drugs do not work). If you are not familiar with the emerging consensus in this field, you should ask yourself why.

Coercion and force inevitably bring covert resistance and violent revolt. Only education, in the sense of imparting real knowledge and practical skill, will open the door to collaboration and social order. The psychiatric views of Murphy, Torrey and T.A.C. presume that honest education is not possible and coercion is thus necessary to deal with a certain class of "disordered" individuals -- defined only by Murphy, Torrey and T.A.C. without reference to objective scientific evidence. They degrade medicine and the law, catastrophically. I see this every day in courts and mental "hospitals". 

I would be more than happy to provide you with more specific arguments or counter-arguments, and any quantity of   anecdotal or controlled scientific  evidence, in connection with any statement I have made in this email. I only hope you may have some interest going forward.

I'll only conclude with a simple and specific, if apparently radical agenda, for you to easily recall my advocacy. 

1.) Outlaw all forms of involuntary "hospitalization" for mental disorder. (We already have prosecution and imprisonment; the distinction is fraudulent.)

2.) Abolish forced mental "treatment". (We already have police action and criminal punishment; the distinction is frivolous.)

That's all. If these two political targets were accomplished, any complex considerations about mental health systems would resolve. What the APA protests as "antipsychiatry" would disappear. (Perhaps psychiatry would as well, perhaps not, no matter.) "Stigma" of mental illness would disappear. People would be free to honestly help each other, and our dignity as human beings would no longer be under such withering assault.

Yours very truly,


Randy Kretchmar
Constituent

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Psychiatric "diagnosis"

It has been almost five years since Allen Frances started criticizing the DSM, several years since Ron Pies admitted that no psychiatrist who knows anything should ever talk about "chemical imbalances in the brain", and almost exactly three years since Thomas Insel disavowed the whole system of mental health "diagnosis" as lacking scientific validity.

This week another stellar authority came out as -- exaggerating just a bit, I suppose -- an effective antipsychiatrist.  Stephen M. Stahl made a presentation at the APA's annual conference in Atlanta, in which he stated categorically, "Our psychiatric diagnoses are not diseases." He also informed his audience, "There is no known gene for any major psychiatric disorder, nor is one ever likely to be found. Genes do not code for psychiatric disorders. Genes do not code for psychiatric symptoms."

Dr. Stahl is, of course, the author of Stahl's Essential Psychopharmacology: Neuroscientific Basis and Practical Applications. In its third or fourth edition by now, the book is absolutely the authoritative text on why it makes sense to "treat" human problems in thinking, feeling and behavior with medicine. We may wonder whether when he points out that there are actually no diseases being "treated", Stahl triggers all kinds of cognitive dissonance and problematic consequences for most of the people who buy his book.

I recently cross examined a psychologist who works for the Criminal Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, who insisted under oath that mental illnesses are in fact brain diseases. State-employed clinicians routinely tell my clients that they need more "insight into their illnesses" (by which is meant, the patient must accept and profess true faith in the "diagnosis" of "schizophrenia"/"bipolar"/whatever, as a lifelong genetically-caused brain disease that he or she "has"), or else they will never be eligible for release from Elgin Mental Health Center.

It is very difficult to understand how state psychiatrists get away with lying and misrepresenting their own field and their own activities as a matter of course, to the extent that they do. It seems to me they will have to start talking about things differently, especially when under oath. There is no rational scientific or ethical excuse for deceiving the public into a false belief that state psychiatric "hospitals" successfully medicate anyone to be better behaved or less dangerous. They restrain people and disable them, but they don't help.

On the other hand, I had an amazing conversation with a state psychiatrist about "diagnosis" just the other day, prompted by my discussion of Stahl's presentation in Atlanta. According to this doctor, who is not originally from a Western culture, there are only two or three valid psychiatric "diagnoses". The first is "disconnected from reality". The second is "too connected to reality". A possible third might be something like, "eccentric manufactured reality", as with a person who is hallucinating on street drugs, or perhaps a truly strange or antisocial personality.

The category of "too connected to reality" is brilliant, and it probably needed a non-Western mind to describe. In Anglo-American culture, we figure "reality" is our benevolent anchor, which we can reasonably hope to shape according to our own purposes. In India however, "reality" is draconian, crushing, absolutely merciless. Of course, depression, anxiety, etc., are a matter of being too connected! One has to separate somewhat from oppressive circumstances to find peace.

My friend also specified -- and by the way, I almost find myself looking over my shoulder, wondering who might have me in a pillory for calling a psychiatrist my friend! -- a critical principle: no matter what diagnosis is assigned to a patient, it becomes appropriate or necessary to treat somebody if and only if they are socially or occupationally disabled by their mental illness. That means that when they get along well enough in their own community with other people, just leave them alone. It doesn't matter how bad their "mental illness" might seem to some professional.

This view is that psychiatrists actually treat conditions existing in the relationships between people and society, not illnesses confined to individual bodies (or brains). That seems honest enough to me.

I just think, still... they do a terrible job and ought to be fired.


Sunday, May 8, 2016

It has to be on purpose

Last week on Thursday, May 5, 2016, at about 10:30 AM, a patient at Elgin Mental Health Center was told by staff that the best way to get permission to have an MP-3 player would be to go to court and sue the state for that privilege. Supposedly, "No MP-3 players allowed" is policy.

But... the same patient has had an MP-3 player before at Elgin Mental Health Center. That was on a different clinical unit, so maybe the "policy" isn't facility-wide. Maybe it's just "policy" for the unit this patient is on now. Or maybe it's a new "policy". Of course, any policy that is real is written. People often say ""It's policy," when the truth is, it's arbitrary retribution or the decision of one person about one other person or one situation in one moment.


Of course, written policy, officially adopted pursuant to administrative codes and statutes by a state agency, if it were unjust or unnecessarily in violation of rights, would call for litigation. One goes to court to deal with such official conflicts. But civil litigation is expensive, and almost any predictable conflict can be resolved by cheaper means. When it comes to states, here are many developed avenues for conflict resolution. This is because states don't want to spend taxpayer money unnecessarily.


A recent Federal Appeals Court decision highlights this situation in Illinois. In Hughes v. Scott, 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 5349, Richard Posner wrote the opinion overturning a lower court's dismissal of the plaintiff's claim that his First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances had been violated by staff at an Illinois forensic psychiatric institution.


The defendant had argued, and the lower court had agreed, that Hughes' due process rights had not been abridged, because he was able to sue. It was substantially the same argument as that of the Elgin staff member on Thursday: if you want an MP-3 player on this clinical unit, go ahead and sue us for it!


Never mind that the only reason a state mental health employee ever says that is, it's a very easy presumption that the patient will not sue. Forensic psychiatric patients just about never have the resources to hire attorneys for every little complaint. Nobody wants to know or mess with what happens on a daily basis inside state mental hospitals, either. So, "Sue me," really, is kind of like just the common, "F___ you!"


Well, in the one case, Hughes did sue. In his opinion overturning the lower court's dismissal of that suit, Judge Posner wrote,



"(P)erhaps the most remarkable feature of this case is the defendants' insistence in defiance of the Illinois Administrative Code that Hughes has no need to invoke grievance procedures because he can always sue, as he has done. What makes this contention remarkable is the
fact that the interests of Rushville (the state institution), of the Illinois Department of Human Services, and of the taxpayers of this almost bankrupt state, obviously are best served if grievances are handled at the facility level rather than by the court system, which is far more costly. Does Rushville have an unlimited budget, so that it can pay lawyers to defend against lawsuits brought only because the institution refuses to obey the Administrative Code and respond to Hughes' grievances, preferring instead to ridicule him and drive him to sue Rushville staff?

"We don't get it. But we have said enough to require that the judgment of dismissal be vacated and the case returned to the district court to try to make sense of the conduct of the defendants and their institution, and to determine whether they are in fact improperly impeding the plaintiff's constitutional right to petition government for redress of grievances."


So, what do you know? The staff member who told a patient last week to sue for an MP-3 player was glibly, arrogantly, refusing to respond a grievance. Clearly the interests of Elgin Mental Health Center, the Illinois Department of Human Services, and the taxpayers of this almost bankrupt state, are remarkably contrary to what this staff member did, exactly as in the Hughes v. Scott case.


Perhaps we will see whether this was a violation of the patient's constitutional rights.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

A Quick Correction

A client whom I have represented at Elgin Mental Health Center ("Louanne") for several years is often told by her so-called "treatment team" (AKA tormenters) that I will only represent her until her money runs out, that I will run in the other direction when that day comes, that I am using her and that she is to be pitied because of that, that I don't have her best interests at heart, etc., etc., etc..

Well... I wish Louanne had any money. I actually don't think she has ever paid me a dime, although she may have offered to do so, in some small amount, at one time or another. I've always figured that if I'm ever to be personally compensated for the work I do, the payment will have to come from the state when I win some big case against them.

As I stated when I first started this blog some years ago, I became an attorney late in life in order to advocate for the universal human right to refuse psychiatry. Since that time, it has occasionally occurred to me that maybe I should get paid by clients. But given the nature of the work, that rarely happens. I'll have to permanently scavenge off the enemy's land, like Uncle Billy Sherman learned how to do, in his greatest innovation of military strategy.

To be misunderstood by the other side is an advantage in a conflict. But to achieve purposes without expensive battle it is necessary to change minds on the other side, and that is the only necessity. Changing minds requires communication, which is always disrupted to some degree by misunderstanding.

I will represent Louanne until her right to refuse psychiatry is secure and unquestioned. I don't give a shit about her money. She knows that pretty well. Her tormenters should know it, too.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Coercion tales

(This article will name some names at Elgin Mental Health Center, an Illinois state-operated forensic psychiatric "hospital" that the taxpayers are told helps people recover from mental illness. The named individuals do not contribute to any environment that could be considered, even remotely, therapeutic.)

____________________________

Several years ago a patient wrote a letter to Lee Saunders, national President of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the union whose Council 31 represents non-administrative staff at Elgin Mental Health Center. The letter complained about a union chief named Marva Stroud, AKA, Marvelous Marva. Marva had been tormenting the patient who wrote the letter, possibly out of racial animus, possibly at the instruction of Elgin administrators or psychiatrists wanting that patient to have a particularly difficult time, so she could be forced to take medication that she had been exercising her statutory and Constitutional rights to refuse.

The union and the administration at Elgin are extremely tight. Jeff Pharis, the Forensic Coordinator, tends to promote union employees who get sued by patients for acting like gangsters. The obvious explanation for this, from Pharis' point of view, is to keep people happy and to discourage them from following their consciences and becoming whistleblowers when they may have regrets about acting like gangsters.

The actual gangster behavior (e.g., beating up patients, lying under oath, writing falsehoods in so-called medical records) probably isn't overtly encouraged by Pharis or the Elgin administration. The real hard-guys are much more likely to be union bosses like Marvelous Marva, and her entourage. But without the hard guys Elgin could be in a lot of trouble, because patients and their families would be far more likely to alert the taxpayers that the place doesn't help anyone recover, it just dehumanizes mentally ill people and turns them loose, back on the community with permanent grudges, seeking retribution. So Pharis looks the other way, and he makes sure he can credibly deny any personal participation in the gangster behavior.

The patient who wrote the letter to the AFSCME President years ago is a thorn in the side of Elgin, and has been for a long time. In 2014, on two occasions, she was given forced injections of crippling psychotropic drugs, not because she was a danger to herself or anyone else (which is what the law requires), but merely because she wouldn't stop saying things that Marvelous Marva and her ilk didn't like. 

That same patient was more recently targeted for a beating from another patient, which actually sent her to the hospital. It's pretty easy to blame "psychotic" people for patient-on-patient violence and cover up the careful incitement of incidents by staff. This recent aggravated battery occurred under the noses of two Security Therapy Aides, Lilly Schillenbeck and Kerji Francis, who took... just... long... enough... to intervene, to ensure an effective punishment. And of course, Lilly and Kerji are both well known to be Marvelous Marva's particular stooges.

Only a day later, the patient who had been hospitalized overheard a conversation in which a very agitated STA named Carmen Carter (one more Marva stooge) told a patient, B.S., "I'm sick of all the shit from T.M. (another patient). Go fuck her up!" Whereupon, patient B.S. entered the room where patient T.M. was, a physical fight ensued, and one or more of patients B.S. and T.M. emerged or were dragged out with visibly scratched arms, etc.

The personality of any group may decline from an inspired, motivated, creative and beneficent collaboration, through the quality of worsening bureaucracy, to a criminal organization. The pressure down that scale comes from undisclosed crimes by individual group members. Failing to help people is instinctively felt to be a crime by all social human beings. Given that forensic psychiatry and involuntary "treatment" are, almost by definition, one giant failure to help, the gangster flavor of Illinois mental health institutions may be unavoidable. Elgin is worse than a bureaucracy.

Of course, Lee Saunders never responded to the patient's letter. The public should know what it's getting, and what it's not, for so many millions in tax dollars. Maybe people like Lee, Jeff, Marva, Lilly, Kerji and Carmen should be summarily fired. Or prosecuted.  

Monday, April 4, 2016

Chart Note Rebuttal

Below is a rebuttal recently written by a patient at Elgin Mental Health Center, to correct a chart note by a Security Therapy Aide on March 1, 2016. This rebuttal illustrates the type of honest services fraud perpetrated by government employees in the forensic psychiatric system in Illinois.

Supposedly, a psychiatric chart is a "medical record" that doctors and courts can rely upon to evaluate the patient that it is written about. The truth is, anyone's psychiatric chart is full of nonsense and lies. But the "clinicians" who write psychiatric chart notes are not so stupid or incapable of observation that they just can't help putting inaccurate information in medical records.

Actually, the system is bent on control of "patients" -- not on helpful "treatment", not on community security, not on improved mental health. It is a system of slavery. The people who run it are plantation owners. Individuals like the STA who wrote the note complained of here, are overseers.

____________________

CHART NOTE REBUTTAL FOR NOTE OF 3/1/16 AT 1445

I am rebutting the aforementioned chart note authored by STA Mike C. There are a few problems with this chart note and the related loss of privileges ("LOP") I was placed on.

Firstly, the note says that this was a late entry. The incident occurred around 8:30am, but the note was not made until just before the author went home at 2:45pm. 

Initially, I was accused of "exchanging" food with another patient, JR. The internal write-up reflects this, as it was referenced in the March staffing report, which also says I "exchanged" food with another patient. However, after Mike C. informed me that I was placed on LOP for the incident, I explained to him that I had received no food, so "exchange" was inaccurate.

Indeed, that morning, the non-vegetarian trays (I am a vegetarian) included cake, sausage and grits. Clearly I would not have taken any sausage, being a vegetarian, nor would I have taken cake (there's no point in exchanging cake for cake). One can imagine that if I had taken grits, a semi-liquid substance, Mike C. would have witnessed a very obvious passing of the food from one tray to the other. But he did not witness any such thing. He apparently realized this only after he had accused me of "exchanging" and put me on LOP for it.

Mike C. then changed his story. When he wrote the chart note hours later, it said "giving" instead of "exchanging" apparently to account for why I did not receive anything from JR. I should point out this is a mild instance of fraud. I was put on LOP for "exchanging", but when the author realized that accusation was not as plausible as he initially thought, he decided to change his story in my official record.

The truth is that Mike C. did not see anything, save perhaps some movement out of the corner of his eye. Indeed, JR took a piece of cake off my tray. But "giving" would have to be an active action which would involve me handing him the cake, or at least presenting my tray to him in a manner for easy access so he could take it. None of this occurred.

When Mike C. saw what he imagined to be a violation of EMHC expectations and/or customs (these cannot be rules, as rules are written and have prescribed punishments when they're broken -- unwritten rules with no prescribed punishments are merely customs), he did not bother to do any kind of inquiry into what actually happened. He never asked me if I gave JR the cake in exchange for something, or if JR took my cake. This is important. Mike C. had all the authority to inquire, but chose instead to simply accuse me of something and put me on LOP without any sort of procedural due process. 

The RN on the unit (an RN signs off on all LOPs) also did not bother to inquire. This is problematic. Just the previous day, another patient was put on LOP for stealing food from another patient's tray, and an inquiry was conducted on the spot to determine exactly what had occurred. 

If one patient steals food or strong-arms it from another patient, should both patients be punished? If the patient from whom food is taken does not consent, but ultimately doesn't care and doesn't report the incident, should both patients be punished? It seems to me that since this is merely an expectation or custom, EMHC staff ought to be redirecting patients before summarily putting them on LOP in an affront to due process. Why not just tell the patient to give the cake back? If he refuses, then perhaps apply disciplinary action. 

EMHC has consistently ignored my complaints about the LOP system, and my requests to fix it. Staff act arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of any consideration for due process. The giant problem of the LOP system is not known to courts or independent examiners, so patients get framed as bad patients. In fact, the LOP system and non-standardized procedures create records to be used against patients in court. Why should patients have to bear a burden to prove false negative reports, which result from the bad LOP system?

Finally, I would like to point out that Program Director Jeff Pharis asked the Consumer Council to come up with a proposal to revise the LOP system, acknowledging that it needed to be fixed. I wrote an eight-page proposal for a brand new LOP system, highlighting all the numerous problems and solutions to them. All the patients on the Consumer Council support this proposal, which was submitted to Jeff Pharis in January, 2016. Two months later, Pharis has not even read it, let alone given any feedback.

Were we told to come up with this proposal just to make us think EMHC was finally ready to revise this problematic LOP system? I believe that the LOP I was handed on 3/1/16, violated my due process rights. It was an arbitrary action by Mike C.

(Patient S.)
3/23/16

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Closing Arguments

Following are closing arguments in a petition for discharge from custody of the Illinois Department of Human Services. The defendant is committed as Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity. Dr. Gill and Dr. Mo are treating psychiatrists at Elgin Mental Health Center. Dr. Cooper is a psychologist with Forensic Clinical Services, a department within the Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court, Criminal Division, assigned to do an independent evaluation.

YOUR HONOR, FOURTEEN YEARS AGO MY CLIENT BROKE INTO A NEIGHBOR’S HOME AND HAD A FIGHT WITH HIM, SENDING HIM TO THE HOSPITAL FOR SIX STITCHES. AT THE TIME, OF COURSE, EVERYBODY WHO WAS THERE WAS FRIGHTENED AND UPSET ABOUT IT.

FROM THEIR FRIGHT AND THEIR UPSET, DIFFERENT PEOPLE CAME UP WITH DIFFERENT STORIES. NOW, AFTER FOURTEEN YEARS, WE MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO KNOW FOR SURE, AND IT MIGHT NOT EVEN BE OUR MOST IMPORTANT JOB TO KNOW, WHICH OF THESE STORIES ABOUT THE SCARY EVENT FOURTEEN YEARS AGO IS CLOSEST TO TRUE.

WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS TAKE A RESPONSIBLE LOOK AT WHAT’S HAPPENING NOW, AND WHAT IT MAKES SENSE TO DO NOW, WITH THIS PERSON, THE DEFENDANT.

FIRST AND FOREMOST, MY CLIENT DOES NOT HAVE AN INCURABLE BRAIN DISEASE. HE DOESN’T HAVE ANY BRAIN DISEASE ANYONE CAN SEE WITH ANY INSTRUMENT OR ANY KIND OF TESTING, WHATSOEVER. DR. COOPER TESTIFIED THAT, OH, OF COURSE HE HAS A BRAIN DISEASE, JUST BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT WE CALL IT – NOT BECAUSE THAT ENABLES US TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT AT ALL.

ACTUALLY, SAYING HE HAS A BRAIN DISEASE DOES ENABLE DR. COOPER TO BELIEVE, OR TO PRETEND, THAT MY CLIENT SHOULD BE TREATED WITH DRUGS. BUT HE’S WRONG ABOUT THAT, AND HE’S NOT EVEN QUALIFIED TO SAY THAT, WHICH HE ADMITTED, HIMSELF.

NOW I KNOW YOUR HONOR HAS SAID THAT THIS MEDICATION ISSUE DOESN’T MATTER. BUT PLEASE BEAR WITH ME; I WANT TO MAKE A RECORD ON JUST A COUPLE POINTS. I WOULD SUGGEST THAT THE COURT MIGHT WONDER WHY IT SEEMS TO BE SUCH A CONVENIENCE … FOR DR. COOPER TO SAY MY CLIENT SHOULD BE TREATED WITH DRUGS, DESPITE THE FACT THAT HE’S NOT QUALIFIED IN MEDICINE.

I’M SORRY TO HARP ON DR. COOPER, BUT I THINK THAT YOUR HONOR’S INSTINCT, THAT SOMETHING ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION BETWEEN DR. GILL AND DR. MO JUST DOESN’T MAKE SENSE, IS ABSOLUTELY SPOT-ON. I KNOW THESE TWO DOCTORS, THOUGH. TO ME, THEY’RE ALMOST ON THE SAME PAGE COMPARED TO DR. COOPER.

ALONG WITH WONDERING WHY DR. COOPER SO QUICKLY MENTIONS DRUGS THAT HE HAS NO ACCESS TO AND NO LEGAL ABILITY TO PRESCRIBE, WE SHOULD ALSO ASK WHY HE DOES NOT USE HIS OWN, SCIENTIFICALLY VALIDATED TOOLS AS A PSYCHOLOGIST. I ASKED HIM ABOUT THREE TESTS FOR DANGEROUSNESS, WHICH WORK IN A PROVEN ACTUARIAL SENSE. HE WAS FAMILIAR WITH ALL THREE OF THOSE TESTS, AND PROBABLY AT LEAST A HANDFUL MORE THAT I DON’T KNOW. BUT HE SAID IT’S NOT HIS ASSIGNMENT TO EVALUATE WHETHER THE DEFENDANT IS DANGEROUS.

HOW CAN THAT BE? WE CAN’T CONSTITUTIONALLY INCARCERATE SOMEBODY IN A STATE PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITAL UNLESS THAT PERSON IS BOTH MENTALLY ILL AND DANGEROUS. NOW, MAYBE WE CAN ALWAYS CALL SOMEBODY MENTALLY ILL, THAT’S ACTUALLY AS EASY AS SAYING WE DON’T LIKE TODAY’S WEATHER.

BUT THERE ARE PROVEN, VALID PSYCHOLOGICAL TESTS FOR DANGEROUSNESS. ISN’T IT CONTRARY TO THE PURPOSE WE ARE SUPPOSEDLTY HERE TO SERVE, THAT DR. COOPER CAN SO GLIBLY SAY, “OH SURE, I’M QUALIFIED WITH THOSE TOOLS OF ACTUARIAL PSYCHOLOGICAL EVALUATION, BUT IT’S NOT MY JOB TODAY, AND AFTER ALL, FOLKS, THE DEFENDANT DOESN’T TAKE DRUGS…”

WELL OF COURSE, THERE ISN’T ANYONE TELLING THE DEFENDANT TO TAKE DRUGS. THERE HASN’T BEEN ANYONE TELLING HIM TO TAKE DRUGS FOR YEARS.

AS I SAID BEFORE, WHAT’S NEEDED IS A RESPONSIBLE LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING NOW, AND WHAT IT MAKES SENSE FOR US TO DO NOW, WITH THIS PERSON, THE DEFENDANT.

WE GET NO SUCH RESPONSIBLE LOOK FROM DR. COOPER. WHY? HE GIVES US A ROUTINE, OR A WELL-PRACTICED DRILL, THAT HE CAN LOOK GOOD AT PERFORMING. HIS OPINION IS FROM MANY YEARS AGO, IT HAS LITTLE OR NOTHING TO DO WITH PRESENT TIME. IT WAS ACTUALLY STARTLING HOW HE HAPPILY INSISTED, CONTRARY TO ALL SCIENTIFIC MEDICAL EVIDENCE AND WITH NO CONNECTION WHATSOEVER TO HIS OWN PROFESSIONAL DISCIPLINE, THAT A DSM “DIAGNOSIS” IS IN FACT A KNOWN, INCURABLE BRAIN DISEASE. NOBODY BELIEVES THAT ANYMORE, IT’S A DELUSION, BY THE DSM DEFINITION.

I MAY RISK MAKING THE COURT ANGRY WHEN I USE THAT D WORD, “DELUSION”… YOUR HONOR HAS BEEN IMPATIENT OR FRUSTRATED WITH MY WITNESSES MORE THAN ONCE. MY WITNESSES HAVE NOT HAD THEIR ROUTINES DOWN PERFECTLY, THE WAY THE GUYS FROM THE 10TH FLOOR USUALLY DO. BUT MY WITNESSES ARE AT LEAST A BIT WILLING TO CONFRONT THE FACT … THAT MUCH OF THIS FORENSIC MENTAL HEALTH SHOW IS NONSENSE.

FOR EXAMPLE, DR. GILL ADMITTED THAT HE SIGNED A COURT REPORT IN OCTOBER SAYING THE DEFENDANT WAS NOT SUITABLE FOR CONDITIONAL RELEASE, EVEN AFTER HE HAD ADVISED ME HE WOULD TESTIFY TO THE CONTRARY.

DR. MO HEARD ALL OF DR. GILL’S TESTIMONY, AND HIS BIGGEST DISAGREEMENT WITH DR. GILL WAS NOT ABOUT THE DEFENDANT’S DIAGNOSIS, OR ABOUT HIS POTENTIAL TO BE DANGEROUS, BUT ABOUT WHETHER IT’S POSSIBLE AS AN ADMINISTRATIVE MATTER TO RELEASE HIM WITH HIS PROBLEMATIC IMMIGRATION STATUS, WHICH MAKES IT HARD TO GET HIM AN AFTERCARE PLACEMENT.

I KNOW DR. MO ALSO SAID THE DEFENDANT COULD BE DANGEROUS WITHOUT AFTERCARE. BUT LIKE YOU, YOUR HONOR, I THINK THEY CAN SET UP SOMETHING WORKABLE IF THEY WANT TO. THE DEFENDANT WOULD AGREE TO ANY AMOUNT OF SUPERVISION ANYONE WANTS TO PROVIDE, IN EXCHANGE FOR RELEASE FROM ELGIN. I THINK THEY COULD DEMAND VERY SEVERE CONDITIONS, ABOUT SEEING A DRUG COUNSELOR OR A PSYCHIATRIST OR PSYCHOLOGIST EVERY WEEK OR EVERY DAY, IF THEY REALLY THINK IT’S NEEDED, NOT TO MENTION RANDOM DRUG TESTS.

SO WHAT ARE THESE DOCTORS TALKING ABOUT? IS THEIR TESTIMONY ABOUT MENTAL ILLNESS, OR IS IT ABOUT THEIR CURRENT, PECULIAR BUROCRACY? ARE THEY ACTUALLY THINKING WITH ANY SPECIAL CLINICAL KNOWLEDGE, OR JUST TRYING TO COVER THEIR REAR ENDS? IT’S EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING FOR THOSE OF US WHO BELIEVE IN THE LAW.

ON THE OTHER HAND, THOSE OF US WHO SAY WE BELIEVE IN THE LAW HAVE HAPPILY ABDICATED TO DOCTORS IN THE HOPE THAT THEY CAN WORK SOME MAGIC ON PEOPLE’S BRAINS, TO SOFTEN THE JUSTICE THAT IT’S OUR JOB TO DISPENSE. WE’VE EFFECTIVELY BEGGED THEM TO MAKE THE DECISIONS, OR TO TELL US HOW TO MAKE THE DECISIONS, THAT WE THINK ARE TOO HARD.

SO NOW WE SPEND OUR TIME ON THESE MONTHLY STAFFING REPORTS AND SEMI-MONTHLY COURT REPORTS FROM ELGIN, AND PSYCHOLOGICAL OR PSYCHIATRIC SUMMARIES FROM THE TENTH FLOOR, WHICH IF WE REALLY WANT TO LOOK, ARE FULL OF WORDS THAT MEAN NOTHING, FULL OF LIES. IT’S NOT SO MUCH THAT THE PEOPLE WHO CUT AND PASTE ALL THOSE WORDS, AND OCCASIONALLY WRITE A COUPLE NEW ONES, REALLY MEAN TO LIE, OR THAT THEY EVEN REALIZE THEY ARE LYING. HOWEVER, IF WE WANTED TO GO THROUGH ALL THAT PAPERWORK CAREFULLY, AND IF OUR PURPOSE WAS TO FIND PERJURY AND FRAUD, WE PROBABLY COULD PROSECUTE ALMOST EVERYONE IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MENTAL HEALTH, AND EVERYONE IN FORENSIC CLINICAL SERVICES DOWN AT 26TH & CAL.

I CAN SAY THIS HERE, BECAUSE MY PARTNER AND I HAVE ASKED THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE TO DO EXACTLY THIS, IN A FORMAL SUBMISSION OF HUNDREDS OF PAGES.

BUT GETTING BACK TO THIS DEFENDANT, THIS CASE…

NOBODY HAS TESTIFIED THAT THEY’VE SEEN ANY HINT OF PSYCHOTIC SYMPTOMS IN A LONG TIME, OR MAYBE EVER. THE DEFENDANT HAS INDICATED THAT HE KNOWS HE DID SOMETHING WRONG FOURTEEN YEARS AGO, AND THAT HE NEEDS TO MAKE SURE HE DOESN’T DO IT AGAIN. HE’S SPENT A LOT OF YEARS IN A HIGH-STRESS ENVIRONMENT, AND EVEN THOUGH HE’S BEEN TESTY WHEN PSYCHOTIC PEOPLE HARASS HIM, HE HAS NEVER HURT ANYONE. HE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DRUGGED INTO DISABILITY TO GET ALONG WITH THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM.

HE HAS EVERY INCENTIVE, TO BE ABLE TO HELP SUPPORT AND LIVE WITH HIS FAMILY, TO KNOW HIS GRANDCHILDREN, TO STAY OFF DRUGS AND BE A CONTRIBUTING MEMBER OF SOCIETY RATHER THAN A MENTALLY ILL DEPENDANT ON THE PUBLIC DOLE. OUT OF HUNDREDS OF SO-CALLED “PATIENTS” AT ELGIN MENTAL HEALTH CENTER, THIS DEFENDANT IS PROBABLY AMONG THE TOP HALF DOZEN BEST PEOPLE TO RELEASE RIGHT NOW.

THERE’S NO REASON NOT TO LET THIS MAN OUT, YOUR HONOR. WE CAN SAY, OH, WE’LL NEVER BE SURE HE WON’T GET IN TROUBLE AGAIN, BUT THAT CAN BE SAID OF EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US. WHY NOT JUST PRE-EMPTIVELY LOCK ALL OF US UP, BECAUSE WE’RE HUMAN, AND THAT BY ITSELF MAKES US POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS? WHY NOT JUST MAKE EVERYBODY REPORT TO A PSYCHIATRIST ONCE A WEEK FOR WHATEVER “TREATMENT” IS ORDAINED?


WELL, OBVIOUSLY, THE REASON WHY NOT IS … IT’S JUST NONSENSE.