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United States v. Mahoney

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

October 14, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Petitioner,
v.
BRIAN MAHONEY, Respondent

For United States of America, Petitioner: Patrick M. Callahan, LEAD ATTORNEY, United States Attorney's Office MA, Boston, MA.

For Brian Mahoney, Respondent: Michael R. Schneider, LEAD ATTORNEY, Good Schneider Cormier, Boston, MA.

Page 402

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

PATTI B. SARIS, Chief United States District Judge

I. INTRODUCTION

The government seeks to civilly commit respondent Brian Mahoney under 18 U.S.C. § 4246, which provides that a person due for release from prison may be hospitalized if the Court " finds by clear and convincing evidence" that the person is " presently suffering from a mental disease or defect as a result of which his release would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to the property of another."

A hearing was held on June 4, 2014, and continued on June 12 and August 5. Two court-appointed expert witnesses testified: forensic psychologist Dr. Shawn Channell of the Federal Medical Center in Devens, MA, on behalf of the government, and psychologist Dr. Daniel Kriegman on behalf of the defense. Respondent was represented by court-appointed counsel. After a review of the record, the Court orders Mr. Mahoney civilly committed.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

In 2010, Mr. Mahoney was arrested in New Hampshire and charged with Failure to Register as a Sex Offender, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2250(a). In April 2011, the District of New Hampshire ordered that Mr. Mahoney be evaluated for competency to stand trial. He was evaluated at the Federal Medical Center (" FMC" ) in Devens, Massachusetts, and the evaluator issued the opinion that he was competent. However, a second court-ordered evaluation in October 2011 reached the opposite conclusion, and after a hearing in April 2012 the court in New Hampshire held that he was incompetent to stand trial. Mr. Mahoney was returned to FMC Devens for restoration of competency, but after a second competency hearing in February 2013, the court found that his condition had not improved and he remained incompetent. The charges against Mr. Mahoney were dismissed. Because Mr.

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Mahoney was in custody in Massachusetts, the government subsequently filed a petition in this Court seeking to have Mr. Mahoney civilly committed pursuant to § 4246.

III. FACTS

A. Personal History[1]

Mr. Mahoney was born on May 23, 1959, the eldest of five siblings. When he was six years old, his father was convicted of a triple homicide, for which he would spend twenty-seven years in prison. Mr. Mahoney's upbringing was otherwise stable. He had positive relationships with his mother and siblings, and did not report experiencing any physical abuse.

Mr. Mahoney had some difficulty in school, as he displayed " combative" behavior such as fighting with peers and throwing chairs. He was suspended at least once, possibly several times, and was placed in special education as a result of his behavioral problems. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade, and moved out of his mother's home around the same time. Mr. Mahoney received his GED while incarcerated at age nineteen. He reported that he took classes toward an Associate's Degree in building construction and technology, but fell several credits short of completion. Mr. Mahoney also stated that he completed a fifteen-week legal preparation course at Suffolk Law School.

Mr. Mahoney reported that he was employed as an iron worker from age sixteen onward, and that he was " laid off" from three or four jobs for arguing with his foreman. He began receiving Social Security Disability (" SSDI" ) benefits in 1995 after sustaining an injury in a workplace fall. Apart from an unsuccessful attempt to return to and maintain work in 1999, Mr. Mahoney continued to receive SSDI until his arrest in 2010.

At ages seventeen and eighteen, Mr. Mahoney had two children with two different women, and in 1993 he had a daughter with Karen Dipinto. Mr. Mahoney has had several romantic relationships, and has been married once. While he denies any history of violence toward romantic partners, four different women have filed restraining orders against him, including his wife (from whom he is not legally divorced), and Ms. Dipinto.

Mr. Mahoney currently experiences hearing problems in his left ear due to an injury to his eardrum at age thirteen. He has a history of abusing marijuana, has consumed alcohol, and has twice used cocaine.

B. Offense History and Convictions

According to the Modified Pretrial Services Report, Mr. Mahoney has an extensive criminal history, with thirty-four adult criminal convictions and nearly twenty other arrests. Ex. 22. His longest period of incarceration was for six years, and he has also been sentenced to numerous several-month stints in houses of corrections over the last thirty-five years. Id.

Five of Mr. Mahoney's criminal convictions involved acts of violence. In 1978, he was convicted of assault and battery, and the following year he was convicted of assault with a dangerous weapon (pliers) and assault and battery, along with breaking and entering at night. Id. at 01311. In 1983, Mr. Mahoney was found guilty of assault with a dangerous weapon, a knife, with intent to rape. Id. at 01313. For

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this charge, Mr. Mahoney served six years in prison and is required to register as a sex offender. Id. Mr. Mahoney's two most recent violent offense convictions occurred in 1996 and 1997, and both were for assault and battery. Id. at 01315.

Apart from his convictions for acts of violence, Mr. Mahoney has been convicted numerous times for threatening violence: In 1996, he was convicted of threatening to kill, in 2003 he was convicted of threatening bodily harm, and in 2005 he pled guilty to criminal threatening. Id. at 01315-16. Further, Mr. Mahoney had six restraining orders filed against him by four different women between 1995 and 2003. Id. at 01320-21. While the first five orders were allowed to expire, the most recent one remained active as of February 2011 and Mr. Mahoney was found guilty of violating it in 2005. Id. at 01317, 01320-21.

Mr. Mahoney's remaining convictions occurred almost without interruption from 1979 to 2008, and include a variety of charges, among them: larceny, knowingly receiving stolen property, breaking and entering, shoplifting, criminal mischief, criminal trespassing, harassment, resisting arrest or detention, disorderly conduct, operating a motor vehicle after revocation, driving while intoxicated, and failure to register as a sex offender. See generally Ex. 22.

C. Mental Health History

1. Diagnoses and Treatment

Mr. Mahoney reported to Dr. Channell that he exhibited hyperactivity as a child, but was not treated for it. Dkt. 7, Ex. A at 6. He stated that he attempted suicide in 1978 following a break-up with a girlfriend. Id.

Mr. Mahoney first received mental health treatment in 1989 after he was released from prison and was told that his demeanor and rapid speech were " overbearing." Id. A psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital prescribed him the antidepressant Zoloft, and later Wellbutrin. Id. He discontinued both after a short period of time. He continued to see the psychiatrist until 1994, as required by the parole board, and later returned to the doctor after his workplace injury in 1996. At that time, Mr. Mahoney was prescribed a sedative, Valium, but stopped treatment after six months. Id.

While incarcerated at MCI Concord between 2008 and 2009, Mr. Mahoney was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (" ADHD" ), General Anxiety Disorder (" GAD" ), Mood Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (" NOS" ), and Borderline Personality Disorder. Id. at 6-7. He was treated with Klonopin, an anxiolytic, and Celexa, an antidepressant. Id. at 7. After his release in 2009, Mr. Mahoney became depressed and was prescribed Wellbutrin and the stimulant Adderall, but did not comply with the treatment protocol. Id. He later received weekly counseling at the Avis Goodwin Community Health Center in New Hampshire, and reported anxiety, chronic pain, emotional trauma, sleep problems, and ADHD. Id. He was prescribed Xanax, Celexa, and the mood stabilizer Seroquel. Id.

In 2010, Mr. Mahoney reportedly became upset after learning that a website publicly identified him as a sex offender. Id. At the time, an evaluating clinician at the Avis Goodwin Center suggested that Mr. Mahoney might suffer from Bipolar I Disorder, " with possible psychotic features or schizoaffective disorder." Id. He continued to take Seroquel. Id.

While detained at the Strafford County House of Correction in 2011, Mr. Mahoney sought a mental health evaluation due to increased depression and anxiety about his legal situation. Id. He had stopped taking

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Xanax and Seroquel since his arrest, but requested to restart them along with Klonopin and responded with hostility when refused. Id. He was instead prescribed Depakote, another mood stabilizer, but discontinued it after two weeks due to side effects. Id. He was diagnosed with Depressive Episode, possible Bipolar Mood Disorder, and features of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Id.

From April to May 2011, Mr. Mahoney was evaluated for competency at FMC Devens. Id. There, Dr. Miriam Kissin noted that he exhibited pressured speech, said he felt " hyper" and " depressed," and reported hearing " voices telling him to harm himself and assuring him his charges were unfair." Id. Dr. Kissin diagnosed him with Bipolar II Disorder, Hypomaniac, Moderate, and prescribed the mood stabilizer oxcarbazepine. Id.

After Mr. Mahoney returned to Strafford, Dr. Eric Mart noted that he " appeared quite manic." Id. Mr. Mahoney was evaluated for competency a second time in October 2011 by Dr. Mart. At the time of the evaluation, he was not on any medication. Id. at 8. Dr. Mart diagnosed Mr. Mahoney with Bipolar Disorder NOS and Personality Disorder NOS. Id.

Mr. Mahoney was transferred to the Cheshire House of Corrections in November 2011, and prescribed Klonopin and Seroquel. Id. He was evaluated again by Dr. Mart, and was noted to exhibit " pressured speech, flight of ideas, loose associations, and possible delusional beliefs." Id.

At a hearing on Mr. Mahoney's competency, the District of New Hampshire court observed that he presented in a " very agitated state," and ultimately found that Mr. Mahoney was not competent, but might be restorable with proper treatment. Id.

Mr. Mahoney returned to FMC Devens for restoration of competency, and was observed to have an understanding of his situation and to be " pleasant and cooperative with intake evaluation procedures." Id. at 9. However, he also exhibited loud, pressured, and rapid speech, " though he was interruptible and redirectable." Id. He complained of sleep problems, but otherwise reported no issues and demonstrated a " relevant, logical, organized, and goal-directed" thought process. Id. Dr. Channell, who treated and evaluated Mr. Mahoney at FMC Devens, noted that Mr. Mahoney would perseverate on legal matters and frequently made statements that did not make sense or were untrue. Id. Mr. Mahoney also frequently made grandiose statements regarding his legal abilities, " often presented as irritable," and became agitated if confronted or challenged about his statements. Id.

In October 2012, Mr. Mahoney continued to exhibit " extremely agitated" and angry behavior toward staff at FMC Devens. At that time, he agreed to an increase in his medication, Seroquel. Id. Afterward, he " continued to present with rapid, pressured, and difficult to interrupt speech," but was otherwise more appropriate. Id. In November 2012, he complained of racing thoughts, irritability, and anxiety, and he was prescribed lithium " due to inadequate response to quetiapine [Seroquel]." Id. at 9-10; Ex. 16.

Mr. Mahoney was not compliant with the change in his medication. Ex. 16. On February 1, 2013, Mr. Mahoney saw Dr. Vikram Kambampati, his treating psychiatrist, and Dr. Kambampati noted that Mr. Mahoney had " likely benefitted from the addition of lithium," because he reported that it had decreased his racing thoughts, distractibility, euphoria, irritability, ...


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