images_sizedimage_180233007

Glen D. Race, intentionally closing his eyes during a police mug sho

PLATTSBURGH -- July 7 is the deadline for the psychological evaluation ordered by the court for accused murderer Glen D. Race, including delivery of a report to the judge.

"The last I heard, it had not been done," said Joel E. Pink, the Halifax, Nova Scotia, attorney who represents the parents of the man charged with murdering Darcy R. Manor of Mooers and two others in Canada.

That was earlier this week, he said.

NEXT COURT ACTION

Race, who at his arraignment on June 7 was ordered sent to Clinton County Jail without bail, is next due in Mooers Town Court at 7 p.m. Thursday, July 19.

He could, however, waive that felony hearing, the purpose of which would be to determine whether there is enough evidence for the court to send the matter to grand jury.

Pink had no information on whether Race would keep the court date or not, and the man's court-appointed attorney, Daniel Gaudreau, didn't return a call from the Press-Republican.

Should the Nova Scotia man opt to skip the felony hearing, according to New York State Criminal Procedural Law, the court must either order he be held for grand-jury action or "make inquiry "¦ for the purpose of determining whether the felony complaint should be dismissed and another type complaint, including misdemeanor, be filed."

DETERMINES COMPETENCY

Race, 26, had first been scheduled to reappear before Mooers Town Justice Jeff Menard on June 21, pending completion of the court-ordered 730 mental-status exam. According to the court, Gaudreau asked for an adjournment.

Due to confidentiality regulations, Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services Director Sherrie Gillette couldn't speak specifically about Race, but she could outline the procedure dictated by Mental Hygiene Law.

Her agency handles such 730 mental-status exams for the county, totaling about a dozen yearly.

"We schedule them as soon as possible," she said.

The sole purpose of the evaluation, she said, "is to determine competency to stand trial "¦ to determine whether or not (the person) is lucid, whether or not they understand what is happening to them.

"That's the only focus."

JUDGE'S DECISION

Two psychiatrists -- or one psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist with a Ph.D. -- must examine the person in separate interviews, following specific guidelines.

"It's like a check and balance," said Gillette. "Then, if there's a discrepancy, the judge calls a hearing" and studies the information presented by both doctors.

"Ultimately, the judge makes the decision."

Each exam takes 30 to 60 minutes, she said.

Should a person be found incompetent, one possibility is psychiatric hospitalization, Gillette said. If that individual is a prisoner, she added, it would mean transfer to a forensic unit.

"General hospitals don't take people in custody," she said. "The person has to be under guard."

Once hospitalized, said Gillette, a person can be treated, given appropriate medication and may stabilize. And then he or she could be returned to stand trial.

"Other times, the person really needs to be in a mental institution," she said.

NEVER SIMPLE'

Every case is different, she emphasized, and there are various regulations depending, for example, on where the person is in the court process.

"It's never simple," she said, "which is why you need to proceed with varying levels of evaluations and assessment."

Hospitalization, Gillette said, "doesn't negate the charges at all or build an insanity defense."

And, she added, "just because (a person) has a mental illness or disorder, it doesn't mean they're out of touch with reality "¦ that they don't understand the difference between right and wrong."

Clinton County Mental Health's role stops with the initial 730 exam, Gillette said.

"If they're building an insanity defense, they're going to bring in a forensic psychiatrist."

DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD'

The mental-status exam could reveal a need for a Clinton County Jail inmate to have treatment, Gillette said, but Mental Health has two social workers employed on site who see about 45 prisoners a month, evaluating them to determine whether or not they have symptoms needing attention.

A recent study estimated about 16 percent of jail inmates in the United States have mental illness, Gillette said.

"And that's the ones that are diagnosed," she said.

But even if medication is prescribed, she added, "you can't force any medication on any person at any time unless" he or she is hospitalized and a petition for treatment over objection is granted by the court.

That doesn't happen very often, Gillette said.

"There are a lot of protections for people" these days, she said, in terms of involuntary inpatient admission or medication against a person's will. "It can be a double-edged sword."

ODD BEHAVIORS

On July 3, a new law will take effect in Race's home province of Nova Scotia that will ease the process for admitting people to mental-health institutions when they otherwise won't go. Race's parents, Mark and Donna Race, have said the two-year delay in its implementation blocked efforts to get that kind of treatment for their son's paranoid schizophrenia.

Since his initial appearance in a Texas courtroom in May, the media has reported odd behaviors on the part of Race, including refusal to open his eyes during proceedings. Upon arrival in Plattsburgh on June 7, during processing at the State Police barracks, Race spit at two officers and will face charges for that, said Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie.

Pink called the spitting incident the action "of a very sick boy."

Wylie has taken a different view of Race's behavior.

"He plays to the media," he said.

EXTENSIONS RARE

Pink said Race's parents traveled recently from their home in Nova Scotia to Plattsburgh, where they were able to see their son for the first time since he was apprehended in Texas in late May.

He couldn't say how that visit went but stressed the need for a psych assessment as soon as possible.

"I'm just concerned about his mental state, for the time being," he said.

Again, Gillette was barred by confidentiality from saying whether Race's evaluation would be completed within the deadline, but did say it is only under very rare circumstances that her office applies for an extension.

That did happen on Valentine's Day this year, when a blizzard shut down county offices and forced the delay of a 739 exam, she said. Complicating the situation was the fact that the psychiatrist scheduled to conduct it only works in Clinton County one day a week.

"We had to schedule it for when he would be back," she said. "It was just impossible to meet the 30 days."

smoore@pressrepublican.com

Trending Video

Recommended for you