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City Fights Furlough of Mentally Ill Man

     HARTFORD (CN) – The City of Middletown sued the Psychiatric Security Review Board to try to stop it from giving temporary leave to a man confined for the attempted murder of a police officer in the 1980s.



     The Psychiatric Security Review Board is “an autonomous board charged with the custody and supervision of mentally ill individuals who have been confined to the state by virtue of court order,” the city says in its Superior Court complaint.
     Middletown claims the board illegally approved the temporary release of Kenneth Ruggles, who “attempted to murder Bethel police Officer Michael Daubert.”
     Ruggles, who was found not guilty by reason of mental disease, has been institutionalized at Connecticut Valley Hospital since October 1987.
     Middletown says the board voted on Dec. 8 to grant Ruggles community-based treatment, and that the vote “followed an illegal meeting in which the PSRB deliberated in executive session.”
     “The city is aggrieved by the decision of the PSRB in that the improper application of the law to this case by the PSRB has erroneously granted temporary leave to an individual that has been deemed a danger to himself and others, jeopardizing the safety of the citizens of the state of Connecticut as a result of a facially deficient hearing, conducted without a quorum, and in violation of the Freedom of Information Act,” the complaint states.
     The city objects that Ruggles will be allowed to walk unsupervised to his outpatient treatment and therapy groups in Middletown, he will be permitted to travel anywhere in Connecticut with the exception of Bethel, and will have access to computers.
     In addition to conducting an illegal meeting to approve the request it was discovered during testimony on Nov. 4 that “the journal kept by Ruggles was never introduced as evidence during the hearing, nor was it ever reviewed by any of the witnesses who testified on behalf of the application for temporary leave or any of the clinical staff at CVH responsible for his treatment,” the city says.
     Middletown claims that Ruggles “has had access to computers, the Internet and websites during his confinement and that all containing information [sic] about weapons is not restricted” at the places to which he may go, but that Ruggles’ search history on the Internet has never been reviewed, and that “Ruggles refuses to acknowledge that he suffers from a mental defect or that mental defects exist. “
     “Ruggles refused to take responsibility for the crimes he committed stating that, ‘he does not like talking about that period in his life’,” Middletown says. “Ruggles blames his crimes, paranoia, depression, and alcohol abuse on problems with his ‘spirituality’.”
     Middletown seeks declaratory judgment and an injunction preventing the board “from enacting the Ruggles’ temporary leave plan until such time as all statutory requirements have been met.”
     Middletown is represented by Michael Kallor with Rose Kallor, of Hartford.

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