|JURY DENIES HOOPA MAN'S RELEASE
|by Kara D. Machado, 1/11/2007
Wellington Black Jr. was sent back to Napa State Hospital for another
year after a jury found Wednesday that he would pose “a substantial
violent threat to the members of this community” if released.
49, formerly of Hoopa, returned to Humboldt County Superior Court late
last week for trial — something he is entitled to have each year — to
try to be released from the custody of Napa State Hospital.
Black has already served an assault sentence, he’s been in custody for
several years due to mental conditions that require him to be in a
controlled setting, said Humboldt County Deputy District Attorney Arnie
Black’s 1997 conviction stems from an altercation with an
individual living in the same treatment facility in Humboldt County and
led to Black breaking the other’s leg, said Black’s attorney Marek I.
“He was in a conservatorship; he had a public guardian
appointed to handle his affairs and deal with his treatment issues,”
Reavis said. “So he was in a locked facility, but he was in a treatment
Klein said the altercation ensued after Black believed another person had “stolen his coffee.”
said Black was sentenced to two years in prison for the assault, was
quickly removed from the California Department of Corrections and
transferred to Atascadero State Hospital, due to him being a mentally
Black eventually was transferred to Napa State Hospital, where he had been in continuous custody, Reavis said.
is an offender (from which his offense) stems from his mental disorder
and, for that reason, his sentence was served in a state hospital,”
Reavis said. “He was then paroled into the state hospital; he served
his time and (then) served for continued treatment.
he’s on parole, then every year — if it is felt his mental disorder is
not in remission — the District Attorney’s Office has to file a
petition for an extension for one year of continued treatment. So, he’s
done his time, but has had his treatment extended.”
Over the past two years, Black has gone to trial once and then voluntarily waived his right.
said Black’s jury was picked last Friday and testimony began in the
trial Tuesday — with just one witness being called by the prosecution.
Both the prosecuting and defense attorneys gave closing arguments on
Wednesday, just prior to the 40-minute jury deliberation.
sole witness in Black’s trial — Dr. Amarpreet Singh, a medical director
at Napa State Hospital — was an expert witness for the prosecution,
“He was a hands-on provider/treater for the
defendant for three or four months,” Klein said. “And, he stopped being
a hands-on physician in October of 2006.”
Klein said Black was diagnosed by Napa State Hospital officials as having a schizo-affective disorder, bi-polar type.
has lost touch with reality and is manic — his moods go up and down,”
Klein said. “He also is suffering polydipsia, which is the inability to
control your impulse control mechanism — in Black’s case, by drinking
liquids — so people with that disorder will drink and drink and drink
and sometimes have to be supervised in the shower so they don’t keep
drinking the shower water.
“They can either drown or drink so much they can die.”
said Black has been taking three different psychiatric medications
twice daily in a controlled environment and that Singh testified that
Black has the delusional belief that he is a Vietnam War veteran, that
the state and/or federal government has placed a substantial amount of
of money away for him, that he has several land holdings, that he hears
voices from televisions and radios talking to him and that he hears his
mother telling him what to do.
Reavis said Black’s polydipsia
symptoms are actually “very, very mild” and he has been free of those
symptoms for a long period of time.
And, of the hearing voices, Reavis said, “Of course both you and I hear voices from radio and television.”
said, in the past, (Black) had heard his mother’s voice, but Mr. Black
never told (Singh), personally, that he’s heard voices,” Reavis said.
“Mr. Black will not discuss it with them; doctors assume he hears
Klein said, if released, Black would have been a “walking, ticking time bomb.”
said he could not comment on how he believed Black would behave should
he be released and that Klein’s comment was “speculative hyperbole on
Mr. Klein’s part.”
This latest trial was the first time Reavis represented Black.
Reavis said he hopes to represent Black in the future and that during this week’s trial, Black was well-behaved.
spoke to two jurors afterward, and one those jurors (had) worked in a
mental transitional housing facility and said (Black) was composed,”
Reavis said. “He was certainly very pleasant to me, he certainly seemed
to have a grasp of what was going on and he was very cooperative with
“He was disappointed in the jury’s decision and he hopes he
will have a better outcome next year. I don’t believe (Black poses a
substantial threat), but the jury decided differently. I hope next
year, that after (another) year of treatment, that Mr. Black can prove
to a jury that he does not pose a substantial risk.”
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