The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office has issued the following statement regarding the Illinois Department of Human Resources recommendation that Lawrence Hucksteadt be released into society. You can tell that State’s Attorney Lou Bianchi does not approve of the state’s psychiatrists’ that Lawrence Hucksteadt “is not a danger to himself or others.”
Here’s the statement:
The Department of Human Services opined that Lawrence Hucksteadt was unfit to stand trial because he could not assist with his own defense.
One of the primary reasons for his unfitness, based upon the sworn testimony of the psychiatrists, was the Defendant’s deteriorating memory.
A criminal defendant must be able to remember the offense and the events that transpired during the investigation of the offense so that he can adequately assist his defense attorney at trial.
Based upon the opinions of the treating psychiatrists at the Department of Human Services, the judge ruled that Hucksteadt was unfit to stand trial.
The State, in response, requested that Hucksteadt be civilly committed so that he would remain in a secured setting.
To our surprise, the Department of Human Services, refused to civilly commit Hucksteadt.
The Department, in its written report, opined that Hucksteadt, at this time, “is not a danger to himself or others.”
It is further written that he intends to
- obtain a job,
- become involved in Alcoholics Anonymous, and
- that he would not attempt to obtain medical treatment at Centegra “for obvious reasons” and would instead seek medical treatment elsewhere if needed.
In our opinion, these two opinions were contradictory to one another.
The court denied our request to file a motion to reconsider its opinion holding Hucksteadt unfit.
We will now proceed to a discharge hearing.
Here is a related July 16th press release:
STATE’S ATTORNEY LOUIS BIANCHI OPTS TO PERMANENTLY SECURE HUCKSTEADT AT ELGIN MENTAL HEALTH FACILITY RATHER THAN RISK HIS RETURN TO SOCIETY
After hearing evidence presented at a fitness hearing, Judge Joseph Condon has found that Defendant Lawrence Hucksteadt is unfit to stand trial and is unlikely to be restored to fitness.
Based upon that ruling, the State’s Attorney’s Office has decided to request that the court remand the defendant to the custody of the Department of Human Services where he will be involuntarily committed in a secure inpatient setting.
Once the defendant is committed to the Department of Human Services, the court having jurisdiction over the criminal matter shall dismiss the charges against the defendant, with the leave to reinstate.
In such cases, the Department of Human Services shall notify the court, the State’s Attorney and the defense attorney upon the discharge of the defendant.
If the defendant is restored to fitness, the State’s Attorney’s Office will immediately reinstate the first degree murder charges and remand Lawrence Hucksteadt to McHenry County where he will stand trial on these charges.
The State’s Attorney’s Office believes that committing the defendant to a secure inpatient facility will protect the public from a potentially dangerous criminal accused of a brutal and heinous murder.
If the State’s Attorney’s Office proceeded to a discharge hearing and presented evidence of the crime to the court, there is a potential that the defendant would be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
If that occurred, the court would enter a judgment of acquittal and pursuant to Section 5-2-4 of the Unified Code of Corrections, the defendant could potentially be released from custody and set free at such time as the facility director determined that the defendant is no longer in need of mental health services on an inpatient basis or the defendant no longer requires placement in a secure setting.
Under this scenario, the State’s Attorney’s Office loses jurisdiction over the defendant and runs the risk that he could one day be released back into society.
Committing the defendant to the department by way of civil proceedings ensures the safety of the community and allows the State’s Attorney’s Office the ability to reinstate criminal charges if the defendant is restored to fitness.