The Courant’s Josh Kovner reports:
A retired forensic specialist at the Whiting Forensic Division with more than 20 years’ experience has commented on our Sunday article about Bryan Brouillard, who was acquitted by reason of insanity of a 20-year felony. Brouillard has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against Connecticut Valley Hospital, saying his confinement there for six years was illegal because he was never insane.
Brouillard’s lawyer was adamant that his client was not exploiting the system, but the specialist, Don Donati of Clinton, wondered what else you would call it.
“I saw a few cases at Whiting like Mr. Brouillard’s. The parents have money and some influence … (T)hey cannot bear to see their child go to prison and look for a way out. This is where ‘mental issues’ arise. With money, a good lawyer can be hired who in turn can always find a psychiatrist who will provide supporting testimony. A little power is exercised, agreements are reached. ‘You won’t have to go to prison, get some treatment, behave yourself and you’ll be out soon.’ But when the (Psychiatric Security) Review Board takes over, sometimes people end up ‘doing more time’ than if they went to prison. Brouillard didn’t get his way soon enough … so he tried to escape. Now HE wants to sue. Unbelievable.
“The solution would seem to be a verdict something like ‘guilty but not mentally responsible’ so someone would get a sentence to be served at Whiting. BUT if they regain their mental health, the remainder of the sentence would be served in prison.
“The Review Board has an awful responsibility. For instance, in the David Messenger case, is a violent loss of control mental illness or a bad temper? When he calms down is he no longer mentally ill? Does he then have to be legally released? Who can predict if he will do it again? These are disturbing questions that are hard to answer because human behavior can never really be predicted.”