The Second Department, reversing County Court, determined the evidence at this civil commitment hearing supported a finding defendant was not suffering from a “dangerous mental disorder,” but rather was “mentally ill,” within the meaning of the Criminal Procedure Law (CPL) 330.20:
… County Court accepted the appellant’s plea of not responsible by reason of mental disease or defect to the charge of strangulation in the second degree. After the court issued an examination order pursuant to CPL 330.20(3), the appellant was remanded to Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric … , where he was evaluated by three psychiatric examiners. Two of the examiners found him to be suffering from a dangerous mental disorder, while the third determined that he was mentally ill. * * *
The opinions expressed by the People’s experts were based, in large part, upon speculation and an overly narrow focus on the appellant’s conduct during the relatively brief period of time between the instant offense and the time when the appellant began taking medication. As evidenced by the unrebutted testimony of the appellant’s experts, the appellant has had no history of relapses into violent behavior. Moreover, he had no notable history of substance or alcohol abuse, had always been compliant with treatment, both during the 18-month period he was released on bail and during his subsequent time at Mid-Hudson, and had a positive support system. Therefore, the preponderance of the record evidence did not support the conclusion of the People’s experts that the appellant suffered from a dangerous mental disorder… Contrary to the County Court’s determination, the preponderance of the evidence adduced at the hearing demonstrated only that the appellant was mentally ill … .
Accordingly, the County Court’s findings of fact must be vacated and the matter remitted to the County Court, Orange County, for the entry of a finding that the appellant is mentally ill pursuant to CPL 330.20(1)(d), and the issuance of such further orders as may be appropriate under the Mental Hygiene Law and CPL 330.20(7). Matter of Eric F., 2017 NY Slip Op 05594, 2nd Dept 7-12-17
CRIMINAL LAW (CIVIL COMMITMENT, INSUFFICIENT PROOF DEFENDANT SUFFERED FROM A DANGEROUS MENTAL DISORDER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW 2ND DEPT)/MENTAL HYGIENE LAW (CRIMINAL LAW, CIVIL COMMITMENT, INSUFFICIENT PROOF DEFENDANT SUFFERED FROM A DANGEROUS MENTAL DISORDER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW 2ND DEPT)/MENTAL ILLNESS (CRIMINAL LAW, INSUFFICIENT PROOF DEFENDANT SUFFERED FROM A DANGEROUS MENTAL DISORDER WITHIN THE MEANING OF THE CRIMINAL PROCEDURE LAW 2ND DEPT)