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Illinois Personal Injury & Criminal Defense / Blog / Criminal Defense / Defendant, Found Not-Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Appeals Denial of Transfer to a Less-Secure Psychiatric Facility

Defendant, Found Not-Guilty by Reason of Insanity, Appeals Denial of Transfer to a Less-Secure Psychiatric Facility


In People v. Haynes, the defendant was charged with attempted first-degree murder on April 29, 2002. In July of that year, the trial court ordered that the defendant should be evaluated to determine his fitness to stand trial. An independent psychiatrist found that the defendant was unfit to stand trial. The defendant was ordered held in a secure psychiatric facility until he was stabilized and the matter could be reviewed. In 2003, the defendant was found fit to stand trial. However, based on the evidence, the court found him not guilty by reason of insanity and remanded him to the Illinois Department of Human Services where he stayed for the next 18 years.

In 2021, the defendant filed for a petition to transfer to a non secure setting, conditional release, or discharge. The petition sought an order appointing an independent psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant. The defendant’s petition was denied by the trial court. The defendant subsequently filed an appeal.

Examining the appeal 

On appeal, the defendant raised three issues. First, he claimed that he was denied his statutory right to be present at the hearing on his petition. Second, he claimed he was denied his statutory right to an impartial examination. The third issue alleged that he was denied effective assistance of counsel where his attorney failed to prevent the violations of his statutory rights. The court found merit in the defendant’s first two claims and therefore, did not address the third claim related to ineffective assistance of counsel.

The state argued that the defendant was “estopped” from raising claims that his statutory rights were violated under the doctrine of invited error. In other words, the defendant cannot complain of an error that the defendant induced the court to make or to which the defendant consented.

The state argued that the defendant waived his statutory rights to be present and have an independent evaluation. However, the appeals court disagreed.

Insanity as a defense and fitness to stand trial 

To be tried with a crime, the prosecution must establish that you understand the charges against you and can participate in your own defense. A defense attorney may petition the court or the court may find it appropriate to have an independent third-party expert, usually a psychiatrist, interview the defendant to determine if they are fit to stand trial. If they are not, the defendant is held until a psychiatrist says that they are fit to stand trial.

A completely separate issue is pleading insanity to the charges. Insanity is a formal defense that a defendant can assert to the charges. They can claim they are not guilty by reason of insanity because they didn’t understand that what they were doing was wrong. This is known as an affirmative defense. The defendant admits that they did the crime they are charged with, but that they are not guilty because some special provision applies. Self-defense is also considered an affirmative defense.

Talk to a Champaign, IL Criminal Defense Attorney Today 

The Champaign criminal defense lawyers at Patel Law, P.C. represent the interests of Illinois residents who have been charged with serious crimes. Call our office right away to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing defense strategy today.



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