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Janakievski v. State

United States District Court, W.D. New York

July 6, 2015

STATE OF NEW YORK, Respondent.


MICHAEL A. TELESCA, District Judge.

I. Introduction

On April 8, 2014, Steven Janakievski ("Petitioner") filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 2254 challenging the constitutionality of his involuntary retention in a non-secure wing of Rochester Psychiatric Center ("RPC") pursuant to a temporary retention order issued by the Monroe County Court of New York State. Presently pending before the Court is Petitioner's Combined Motion to Grant an Expedited Hearing and Motion for an Evidentiary Hearing (Dkt #21).

II. Factual Background and Procedural History

On December 10, 2007, while Petitioner was working as a temporary employee at Bausch & Lomb, he stabbed one of his coworkers in the face, head, and neck with a sharp object, causing the victim life-threatening injuries. At the time, Petitioner was under a psychotic delusion that the co-worker was a Soviet spy engaged in corporate espionage; Petitioner initiated the attack because he heard voices telling him to apprehend the co-worker. Petitioner was arrested and charged with first-degree assault. Subsequently, he was found not competent to participate in his defense and was admitted to the forensic unit at the RPC.

The parties agreed that, on the date of the assault, Petitioner had been in a state of psychosis, though it was unclear whether the psychosis had been induced by his heavy use of controlled substances including hallucinogens and cocaine, or was the product of a biological condition. Petitioner was permitted to plead not responsible by reason of a mental disease or defect to one count of first-degree assault in satisfaction of the indictment.

Following entry of his guilty plea in Monroe County Court (Keenan, J.) on December 23, 2008, an examination order was issued pursuant to New York Criminal Procedure Law ("C.P.L.") § 330.20(2). On April 2, 2009, the County Court found that Petitioner suffered from a dangerous mental disorder and ordered him committed to a secure OMH facility for 6 months. On October 26, 2009, the County Court granted a first retention order authorizing Petitioner's continued retention until October 2, 2010, and permitting him escorted furloughs.

In August 2010, several months prior to the expiration of the then-current retention order, OMH applied for a second retention order to extend Petitioner's in-patient care for two more years. On August 6, 2010, and August 18, 2010, the County Court held a hearing on OMH's application. On October 19, 2010, the County Court found that OMH had proven, by a preponderance of the evidence, that Petitioner had a dangerous mental disorder. The County Court granted a two-year extension of the retention order, setting it to expire on October 31, 2012. However, by letter order dated December 31, 2010, the County Court advanced the retention order's expiration date to July 2, 2011. In September 2011, OMH filed an application for a continued retention order. Although Petitioner's earlier retention order had expired in July 2011, he did not contest his continued retention and agreed to an order of temporary retention while OMH's application remained pending. The County Court (Dinolfo, J.) issued a temporary retention order in September 2011.

In July 2012, the County Court conducted a retention hearing at which Guillermo Portillo, M.D., Petitioner's treating psychiatrist at RPC, testified on behalf of OMH. Dr. Portillo opined that Petitioner continued to suffer from a dangerous mental disorder warranting his retention in a secure OMH facility pursuant to C.P.L. § 330.20(1)(c). At the time of the retention hearing, Petitioner had not communicated with any RPC psychiatrists since December 2010. While Dr. Portillo had given a general diagnosis of Psychotic Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, in September 2011, he clarified at the July 2012 hearing that Petitioner was suffering from Schizoaffective Disorder, Bipolar Type, inasmuch as Petitioner was experiencing paranoid delusions that did not appear to be substance-induced.

Petitioner called psychiatrist Rory Houghtalen, M.D. as a medical expert. Dr. Houghtalen testified that he had diagnosed Petitioner with Substance Induced Psychotic Disorder, Hallucinogen-Persisting Perception Disorder, and Polysubstance Dependence, all of which were in remission. Although Dr. Houghtalen disagreed that Petitioner was delusional, he noted that Petitioner's "current mental status [was] consistent with the CPL 330.30 definition of mental illness...." Dr. Houghtalen did not believe Petitioner was dangerous, provided that he did not resume controlled substance use.

The County Court partially granted OMH's application for a subsequent retention order, finding that Petitioner continued to be "mentally ill" as defined in C.P.L. § 330.20(1)(d). The County Court rejected Dr. Portillo's opinion that Petitioner was suffering from a dangerous mental disorder requiring commitment in a secure OMH facility. However, because Petitioner continued to require care and treatment for his Polysubstance Dependence to prevent a relapse and because he was unable to understand the need for the treatment he required, the County Court determined that Petitioner should be housed in a non-secure OMH facility.

On August 6, 2012, the County Court executed a subsequent order of retention authorizing Petitioner's continued commitment until July 2, 2013. Although Petitioner, through counsel, filed a notice of appeal, he did not perfect the appeal until April 2013, only a few months before the expiration of the August 6, 2012 order.

Meanwhile, on July 3, 2013, OMH applied for a subsequent order of retention. On September 6, 2013, the County Court issued an order of temporary retention permitting RPC to keep Petitioner in its care until the County Court decided the July 2013 application.[1]

This habeas petition followed in which Petitioner challenges the following judgments by the County Court: the initial commitment order dated April 2, 2009; the subsequent retention order dated October 19, 2010; the letter order dated December 31, 2010, modifying the expiration date of the October 19, 2010 order; and the August 6, 2012 subsequent retention order. Petitioner asserts nineteen (19) grounds for relief. ...

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