Commonwealth v. Belete

Code s. 19.2-182.5 does not violate the Due Process Clause as applied to the committed defendant, who on early charges of felony larceny was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Here, the acquittee was previously committed for four years and then conditionally released to outpatient treatment. After violating the conditions of his release, he was recommitted in 2018. The current state of the U.S. Supreme Court’s jurisprudence is that, to satisfy due process demands, continued commitment of an acquittee requires both a showing of mental illness and a showing of future dangerousness. Section 19.2-182.5 entails such an analysis, requiring the court to assess among other things “the likelihood that the acquittee will engage in conduct presenting a substantial risk of bodily harm to other persons or to himself in the foreseeable future.

Further, the Commonwealth met its burden to show future dangerousness. Two clinical psychologists recommended continued hospitalization based on the acquittee’s admitted relapse into the use of illegal drugs. He has also had inconsistent adherence to his prescription regimen and has stopped attending program therapy sessions.

Motion to strike denied.

Commonwealth v. Belete, No. FE10-262, Feb. 5, 2019. Fairfax (Gardiner).

Categories: Opinions, Virginia Circuit Courts

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