In a motion filed this week, Christina Rainville, chief deputy state's attorney in Bennington County, asked the state's top court for reconsideration in two recent Bennington criminal cases.
said in the motion that one issue at stake was whether the Department of Mental Health should have sole authority to request an extension of treatment beyond 90 days.
"The description provided by (Morris) demonstrates how countless defendants are being denied services and hospitalization solely based on their diagnosis of disability," Rainville
said, "such that defendants with Huntington's disease, autism, PTSD and dementia are routinely being denied care and sent to prison when they re-offend, when they … should be in a hospital."
declined to comment on the brief Wednesday because it's an open case.
said this could not have been the intent of the Legislature, because if only that department has standing, there could be no hearing as no one would be allowed to offer another view.
The brief points to a cycle that prosecutors say is not uncommon: A person with mental problems commits a crime and is arrested and found incompetent.
A 90-day order is issued, but then the person is released by the Department of Mental Health, whether the prosecutor agrees or not, and the person then commits another crime.
"As a result, public safety is put at risk and many defendants who should receive services in a hospital are instead released with no services and no supervision - only to be housed in jail, again and again, when they repeatedly commit crimes and start the process over," Rainville