September 2012 Psychiatric Patient Who Attempts to Escape Hospital Charged with Eight Counts of Assault Battery and Destruction of Property
A young man was taken by family members to a hospital emergency room after complaining of suffering from hallucinations. The young man had a history of mental illness and recently underwent a change in his medication. After being admitted to the emergency room the man attempted to escape from the hospital. He struck and assaulted multiple hospital employees in the process including nursing staff and security officers and he knocked over patients and visitors some of whom were elderly. The man also broke a glass window from which he sought to escape. Hospital security staff and health care providers successfully restrained the man sedated him with medication and admitted him to the psychiatric ward for one week. Following his release the man was charged by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with the following offenses: Count (1) Wanton Destruction of Property in violation of M.G.L. c 266 Ç 127; Counts (2) and (7) Assault and Battery on a Public Employee in violation of M.G.L. c 265 Ç 13D; Count (3) Assault and Battery in violation of M.G.L. c 265 Ç 13A(a); Counts (4) and (5) Assault and Battery upon an Elderly or Disabled Person in violation of M.G.L. c 265 Ç 13K(b); Count (6) Breaking Glass in a Building in violation of M.G.L. c 266 Ç 114; and Count (8) Disturbing the Peace in violation of M.G.L. c 272 Ç 53. The young man retained the services of Attorney John L. Calcagni III to represent him in connection with these charges.
Attorney CalcagniÓ³ strategy in this case was to educate the prosecutor of his clientÓ³ mental health condition. Ultimately if this matter proceeded to trial he intended to defend the young man on grounds of lack of mental responsibility or insanity. This defense allows one to avoid criminal responsibility where due to a severe mental disease or defect one is incapable of forming the necessary intent or mental state required to be guilty of committing a crime. Attorney Calcagni requested and obtained full records his clientÓ³ mental health history. Attorney Calcagni also interviewed both the clientÓ³ psychologist with whom he attends counseling and psychiatrist who prescribes his antipsychotic medication. Both providers also provided letters of support on the clientÓ³ behalf.
Attorney Calcagni used this information to persuade prosecutors to dismiss the eight charges against the young man. He argued that based on the medical evidence of the manÓ³ mental illness the Commonwealth would lose at trial and the man would be found not guilty for reasons of lack of mental responsibility. Prosecutors agreed and counter offered a proposal for a straight dismissal with an offer to place the man on pretrial probation for one year. A disposition of pretrial probation does not involve an admission of guilt or any responsibility whatsoever. Rather the individualÓ³ case remains open for a period of time during which he may or may not be required to comply with special conditions. In this case prosecutors offered to place Attorney CalcagniÓ³ client on pretrial probation for 12 months during which time the young man would simply have to continue his ongoing mental health treatment. At the end of this term providing the man fulfills this obligation and is not charged with a new offense his case will be dismissed and he will not incur a criminal conviction from this incident. Congratulations to this client.