(record doc. no. 126,
filed June 18, 2001) at 2.
The Insanity Defense Reform Act ("the Act"), 18 U.S.C. § 4243,
which was enacted by Congress in 1984, provides for the mandatory
hospitalization of defendants found not guilty of federal crimes by
reason of insanity. Under § 4243(a), once the special verdict of not
guilty only by reason of insanity is rendered in a case, the defendant
shall be committed to a suitable facility for care and treatment until he
is eligible for release. Under § 4243(c), the defendant must also be
granted a hearing no later than 40 days after the verdict to determine
whether his release endangers others or their property. *fn3 Notably, as
provided in § 4243(d), it is the defendant, and not the government,
that carries the burden of proof in the hearing. When a defendant fails
to meet his burden of proof, the court is required to commit him to the
custody of the Attorney General of the United States for care and
treatment. 18 U.S.C. § 4243(e).
The circumstances of the case at hand are indeed atypical. Although the
court recognizes the mandatory directive imposed by Congress, the court
makes the following determination regarding the applicability of
18 U.S.C. § 4243 in this case in accordance with both the exceptional
circumstances presented and the central purpose of the Act.
Subsection(a) of § 4243 states: "If a person is found not guilty
only by reason of insanity at the time of the offense charged, he shall
be committed to a suitable facility until such time as he is eligible for
release pursuant to subsection(e) ." It is defense counsel's position
that the directive of § 4243, indicated by the word "shall," should
be read as mandatory only in situations to which it was intended to
apply. Defendant's Memorandum at 3. Defense counsel also points to the
words "the offense charged" (emphasis added), and submits that the use of
"the" rather than "`an' indicates that [§ 4243] was intended to apply
to [a] situation where a single charge has resultecZ in an acquittal by
reason of insanity and not in a situation such as the case at bar, where
a conviction is returned on another charge which will prevent the
[d]efendant's release." Id.
As defense counsel correctly notes, the purpose of the Insanity Defense
Reform Act of 1984, 18 U.S.C. § 4243, is to ensure  that a federal
criminal defendant found not guilty by reason of insanity will not be
released onto the streets." Frank v. United States, 506 U.S. 932 (1992)
(Justice Stevens opinion regarding denial of petition for writ of
certiorari). Indeed, the legislative history of the Act indicates that
§ 4243 deals with acquitted persons "where the issue posed is the
person's risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the
property of another." S. Rep. No. 98-225, at 246 (1983).
In this case, as previously mentioned, the defendant was simultaneously
found guilty on Count Three of the indictment and not guilty only by
reason of insanity on Count One of the indictment. Additionally, the
defendant is currently an inmate convicted of another, prior crime for
which he will continue to be incarcerated for a considerable number of
years in the future. As such, the court agrees with defense counsel that
defendant cannot be considered an "acquitted person" for purposes of
§ 4243(a). Since he is not considered an "acquitted person" under
the Act, it is inconceivable that defendant will be
"released onto the
streets" where he could cause harm to another's person or property. *fn4
Furthermore, because the defendant is not one subject to "release,"
there is no need for the court to conduct a hearing pursuant to
subsection(c) of § 4243. *fn5
Accordingly, the court finds the provisions of § 4243 inapplicable to
the defendant's case.
In the alternative, defense counsel contends that if the Act is invoked
at all, the more appropriate provision under the circumstances presented
in this case is § 4244. Section 4244 directs-the court to conduct a
hearing on the present mental condition of a convicted defendant on a
motion by one of the parties or on its own motion, "if it is of the
opinion that there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may
presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect for the treatment
of which he is in need of custody for care or treatment in a suitable
facility." 18 U.S.C. § 4244.
In this case, neither defendant nor the government moved for a hearing
on the present mental condition of the defendant. Likewise, the court
will not, on its own motion, conduct a hearing on the issue, as there
exists no reasonable cause to believe the defendant poses any immediate
danger to himself or others.
Accordingly, § 4244 will not be invoked as the court does not have
reasonable cause to believe that defendant may be suffering from a mental
disease or defect requiring examination.
NOW, THEREFORE, IT IS ORDERED THAT:
1. The provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 4243 are inapplicable to defendant's
2. The court will not sua sponte invoke 18 U.S.C. § 4244 to conduct a
hearing on the present mental condition of the defendant.