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United States v. Mahoney

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

April 5, 2017

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

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          PATTI B. SARIS, Chief United States District Judge

         INTRODUCTION

         Brian Mahoney was civilly committed on October 14, 2014, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4246, after the Court concluded by clear and convincing evidence that Mahoney was “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.” United States v. Mahoney, 53 F.Supp.3d 401, 402 (D. Mass. 2014), aff'd, 661 F. App'x 1 (1st Cir. 2016). This Court found that Mahoney suffers from Bipolar Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. Id. at 415. Mahoney has an extensive criminal history, with thirty-four adult criminal convictions including convictions for violent offenses. Id. at 403.

         Mahoney moved for a hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(h) to determine whether he still meets the criteria for commitment under 18 U.S.C. § 4246 (Docket No. 185). A hearing was held on January 26, 2017 and continued on January 27 and 30. Forensic psychologist Dr. Shawn Channell of Federal Medical Center in Fort Devens MA (FMC Devens) testified on behalf of the government. Mahoney subpoenaed Dr. David Hoffman, a board-certified psychiatrist and current medical director for the Metro Boston area of the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health (DMH), who determined at the state level that Mahoney did not have a qualifying mental illness. Mahoney was represented by court-appointed counsel. He did not present his own expert testimony.

         After a review of the record and evidentiary hearing, the Court DENIES Mahoney's motion for discharge.

         FACTUAL FINDINGS

         The Court bases these findings on the testimony and exhibits submitted at the evidentiary hearing.

         I. Incident Reports

         As of the end of August 2016, Mahoney had gone about ten months without a disciplinary incident. However, on November 21, 2016, two incident reports were filed against Mahoney. First, an incident report was filed against Mahoney for threatening another with bodily harm. Gov't ex. 124. Dr. Gorham stated that during a meeting, “MAHONEY got up from where he was sitting, walked across the room to stand close to this writer, and, in a loud, pressured voice, stated, ‘You know what, [used my first name in spite of being directed not to previously], I'm from right here in Boston, and I'm getting out! REMEMBER THAT! I'm from right here in Boston and I'm going to be out there soon! Remember that!' In context, it was clear that the inmate was expressing a veiled threat but he did not make a more explicit threatening statement.” Gov't ex. 124, BOPMahoney 01913. Mahoney responded: “I am not guilty. Boston MA is not a threat. I only got the shot because I did not apologize in the meeting. I did not threaten to bodily harm him. I just did not apologize to him.” Gov't ex. 124, BOPMahoney 01911.

         As a result of his behavior in front of Dr. Gorham, Mahoney was transferred to the locked mental health unit. Gov't ex. 105, BOPMahoney 01857. While his property was being packed for transfer, a bottle of pain reliever containing 29 pills of Seroquel 300mg was found in Mahoney's locker. At that time, Mahoney was proscribed 900mg of Seroquel a day. When asked about the pills found in the Aleve bottle, Mahoney admitted they were pills he was supposed to take as part of his daily medication. Consequently, a second incident report was filed against Mahoney for misuse of medication. Gov't ex. 105, BOPMahoney 01857.

         II. Application for State Benefits

         In February 2016, Mahoney submitted an application to DMH for mental health services. Gov't ex. 134, tab 13, BOPMahoney 02215-20. Based on a review of Mahoney's written application, Dr. Hoffman found Mahoney did suffer from several disorders, including: attention deficit disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, and possibly Bipolar II. 1/26/2017 Hrg. Tr. 22:12-16. Dr. Hoffman did not find Mahoney suffered from Bipolar I and denied Mahoney state benefits on March 25, 2016. Gov't ex. 134, tab 9, BOPMahoney 02197-99. In this denial letter, Dr. Hoffman wrote: “There is no definitive documentation [in your initial application] of the presence of psychotic symptoms consistent with a diagnosis of Bipolar I Disorder, and thus opinions that your presentation is more consistent with a Bipolar II Disorder with episodic hypomania seem more accurate.” Gov't ex. 134, tab 9, BOPMahoney 02198. Mahoney appealed this decision. Gov't ex. 134, tab 7, BOPMahoney 02174-75. A state hearing was held on September 28, 2016. Gov't ex. 135, BOPMahoney 02433-02532. Before the hearing, Dr. Hoffman met with Mahoney in person for one hour on June 23, 2016.

         At the state hearing on September 28, 2016, Dr. Hoffman testified that Mahoney did not meet the criteria to receive DMH benefits because he did not have a “qualifying” diagnosis. Gov't ex. 135, BOPMahoney 02489. Mahoney was present. It was at this hearing that Mahoney first heard Dr. Hoffman testify that he believed Mahoney did not suffer from Bipolar Disorder. Specifically, Dr. Hoffman testified: “I would give him antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, rule out traumatic brain injury, rule out Bipolar II.” Gov't ex. 135, BOPMahoney 02489.

         III. FMC Devens ...


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