State v. Anderson

Citation127 A.3d 100,319 Conn. 288
Decision Date03 November 2015
Docket NumberNo. 19399.,19399.
Parties STATE of Connecticut v. Francis ANDERSON.
CourtSupreme Court of Connecticut

Monte P. Radler, public defender, with whom was Cynthia Love, assistant public defender, for the appellant (defendant).

Nancy L. Walker, deputy assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the brief, were Peter A. McShane, state's attorney, Jeffrey Doskos, senior assistant state's attorney, and Alanna D. Tynan, deputy assistant state's attorney, for the appellee (state).

Nancy B. Alisberg filed a brief for the Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities as amicus curiae.

Proloy K. Das filed a brief for the National Crime Victim Law Institute as amicus curiae.



This case raises the questions of whether a trial court may set a monetary bond as a condition of release when an insanity acquittee is charged with committing new, violent crimes while housed at a maximum security psychiatric facility and, if the acquittee cannot post that bond, whether he may be held in the custody of the Commissioner of Correction at a prison while awaiting trial on the new charges. After concluding that this matter presented issues of substantial public interest and that further delay may work a substantial injustice, the Chief Justice granted the request of the defendant, Francis Anderson, to file an expedited, interlocutory appeal pursuant to General Statutes § 52–265a.1 The defendant thereafter appealed from the trial court's order requiring, as a pretrial condition of his release, that he post a $100,000 cash or surety bond. He claims that, under the circumstances of this case, the trial court's imposition of a monetary bond and, after he was unable to post that bond, his subsequent transfer to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction, amounted to violations of his constitutional rights to (1) bail, pursuant to article first, § 8, of the constitution of Connecticut,2 and (2) procedural due process, pursuant to the fourteenth amendment to the United States constitution. 3

We disagree with each of the defendant's claims and, accordingly, affirm the trial court's order setting a monetary bond as a condition of his release.

The following undisputed facts and procedural history are relevant to this appeal. The defendant, who is forty-six years old, has an extensive history of psychiatric problems and involvement with the criminal justice system. He has spent much of his adult life either incarcerated or in other institutionalized settings.4 Following an incident that occurred on or about July 6, 2012, the defendant was charged with assault of a correction officer, breach of the peace and failure to submit to fingerprinting.5 The defendant subsequently was found not guilty of these charges by reason of mental disease or defect.6 On August 15, 2013, the trial court, McMahon, J., committed the defendant to the custody of the Commissioner of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The defendant was transferred to the Whiting Forensic Division of Connecticut Valley Hospital (hospital), where he received a psychiatric evaluation pursuant to General Statutes § 17a–582.7 The October 23, 2013 report resulting from that evaluation recommended that the defendant be returned to prison. On November 18, 2013, Judge McMahon disagreed with the hospital's recommendation and, consistent with the contrary recommendation of an independent evaluator sought by the defendant pursuant to § 17a–582 (c),8 ordered that the defendant be committed to the custody of the Psychiatric Security Review Board (board) and confined at the hospital for a period not exceeding ten years.9 On February 7, 2014, the board held the defendant's initial commitment hearing, after which it concluded that he had a psychiatric illness that required care, custody and treatment. It concluded further that he had a psychiatric disability to the extent that his discharge would constitute a danger to himself or others, and that he required confinement in a maximum security setting. Accordingly, the board ordered that the defendant remain confined at the hospital under maximum security conditions.10

Upon arriving at the hospital, the defendant allegedly commenced a pattern of assaulting other patients and hospital staff. As a result of his conduct on various dates from October, 2013, through February, 2014, he was charged with several misdemeanors.11 Thereafter, in April, 2014, he was charged with, inter alia, two counts of assault of health-care personnel, a class C felony. See General Statutes § 53a–167c. In connection with all but one of these charges, the defendant was released on a promise to appear and ordered returned to the hospital.12 Also, in April, 2014, the state filed a motion for bond review, in which it requested that the trial court modify the defendant's existing conditions of release and impose an "appropriate" monetary bond. The defendant filed an opposition to the state's motion and an accompanying memorandum of law, arguing therein that the court lacked the authority to impose a monetary bond under the circumstances of this case. The parties attached exhibits to these filings, including the hospital's October 23, 2013 report concerning its psychiatric evaluation of the defendant, several reports from the defendant's independent psychiatric evaluator, the transcript of the commitment hearing before the board and the board's report recommending that the defendant be confined in a maximum security setting.

On June 18, 2014, the trial court, Gold, J.,13 concluded that, although the defendant was a confined insanity acquittee, the court retained the authority, conferred by General Statutes § 54–64a14 and Practice Book § 38– 4, 15 to set a monetary bond upon his commission of new offenses in the hospital setting, particularly for the purpose of ensuring the safety of other persons. The court then scheduled an evidentiary hearing on the state's motion for bond review to consider whether the defendant's existing conditions of release should be modified. Before that hearing could occur, however, the defendant was charged with another felony count of assault of health-care personnel, as well as three additional misdemeanors. On August 25, 2014, at the defendant's arraignment on those charges, the court set a bond in the amount of $100,000, cash or surety. Because the defendant was unable to post that bond, he was transferred to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction.16 See General Statutes § 54–64a (d). The court directed that the mittimus reflect that the defendant required mental health treatment and that he should be housed and monitored in a way to ensure, to the extent possible, the safety of other inmates and correction personnel. The defendant's appeal to this court, pursuant to certification by the Chief Justice, ultimately followed.17

At a subsequent hearing to address the defendant's motion for stay of the trial court's order setting a monetary bond pending disposition of this appeal,18 the court elaborated on its reasons for that order. It reiterated its belief that it "retain[ed] the inherent authority to set bond and to establish conditions of release, including financial conditions, even as to insanity acquittees who are alleged to have committed new crimes during their period of insanity commitment." The court reasoned further that a rule to the contrary "would effectively deprive the court of its right—in fact, its obligation—to set conditions of release that are necessary to ensure that the safety of other persons will not be endangered."

Moreover, according to the court, such a rule "would mean that an insanity acquittee, regardless of the frequency and seriousness of his ... new crimes committed during the commitment period, would be free to commit those crimes, confident that he would be ultimately returned to the same facility to be placed, again, among the same staff and same patients that [he allegedly] victimized in the first instance." The court observed that the defendant allegedly committed seven assaults on seven separate people at seven different times.

The trial court further explained that, as authorized by Practice Book § 38–4(b), it had considered the defendant's history of violence and the risk posed to the physical safety of the staff and other patients at the hospital, and had concluded that financial conditions of release were necessary to ensure their safety. Moreover, the court indicated that it had considered the rights of victims afforded by the state constitution, particularly their right to be protected from an accused.19 Additionally, the court reasoned that, even if the defendant had a right to psychiatric treatment, it was not an unqualified and inalienable right to a certain type of treatment, and the nature of the treatment afforded to him had to be determined with reference to the management issues that he presented, with his interests weighed against the interests of other patients who also were entitled to treatment. Finally, the court noted that, pursuant to its order, the defendant was to receive psychiatric treatment while in the custody of the Commissioner of Correction, and correction officials remained free to consult with the hospital and the board regarding that treatment. The defendant's appeal to this court followed.

The defendant claims on appeal that the trial court's order setting a monetary bond as a condition of release and, because he was unable to post that bond, his subsequent transfer to the custody of the Commissioner of Correction were in violation of his constitutional rights, namely, his right to bail under the state constitution and his right to procedural due process under the federal constitution. For the reasons we explain hereinafter, we disagree with each of these claims. We further conclude that the defendant's remedy, if he believes that the...

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