Court of Appeals' decision any hearing under Sec. 24-301(a) can be on the issue of competency to stand trial and nothing more. Consequently, the evidence of April 21st cannot be used to sustain a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.
Moreover, the Durham rule requires a finding of causal relationship between the mental disease or mental defect and the crime committed.
This issue of causal relationship was not even mentioned at the hearing of April 21st. Further, the standard involved in competency to stand trial is far less demanding that that of mental disease or mental defect. One might very well be found competent to stand trial and still be found not guilty by reason of insanity.
There remains, then, the testimony admitted at the trial itself -- the testimony of police officer Booth. From the Court's examination of the records of the case it would appear that Officer Booth expressed no opinion as to petitioner's mental health. However, the evaluation of Officer Booth's testimony involves consideration of the sufficiency of the evidence to support the Court's judgment. The proper court to determine this issue is the Municipal Court of Appeals where petitioner's case is now pending. It would be improper for this court to decide this issue and thus transform the writ of habeas corpus into a writ of error, for this would in effect constitute this court as an appellate court from the Municipal Court, whereas under the statute an appeal must be taken to the Municipal Court of Appeals. '* * * Ordinarily habeas corpus will not lie where there is another adequate remedy by appeal. * * * But where constitutional rights cannot otherwise adequately be preserved, as where there was no other speedy and efficacious remedy open to petitioner in the usual and orderly course of criminal procedure * * * habeas corpus is proper.' Ferris, Extraordinary Legal Remedies 34. In the case at bar, no such showing has been made. A remedy by appeal is readily available in the usual and orderly course of criminal procedure. Petitioner has stressed the undue delay involved in an appeal. The Municipal Court of Appeals is practically current in its calendar and it appears that the appeal will be heard promptly. In any event, in this case the time factor cannot be decisive on this point. The Supreme Court of the United States has frequently refused to entertain a motion for habeas corpus until the appellate processes have been fully explored,
and this court is bound to follow their decisions.
The Court notes further Dr. Overholzer's affidavit of August 1, 1958, appended to defendant's answer. In that affidavit he states petitioner is suffering from a mental disorder, a chronic brain syndrome with behavioral reaction. He further attests that petitioner is dangerous to himself and to others and should be in a mental institution. This affidavit indicates that there is now a basis for the commencement of new proceedings under the civil commitment procedure authorized by District of Columbia Code, Sec. 21-306 et seq.
It is clear to this Court from the record and the history of various proceedings involving this petitioner that he is dangerous to the community and is afflicted with a mental illness which requires medical attention and confinement in a mental hospital rather than incarceration in a workhouse of other penal institution. The deterioration in petitioner's condition, as evidenced in the affidavit, eliminates the obstacles which prevented his commitment this past winter. The Court of Appeals has urged the District to utilize the civil commitment procedure. This Court would also recommend that avenue. Should it choose to pursue this course, the District would accomplish its result quickly and further appellate proceedings would be unnecessary.
The motion for habeas corpus is denied.
Counsel will present the appropriate order.