STATE v. ANTHONY DYOUS, SC 19410

Judicial District of Windham

 

     Criminal; Whether Insanity Acquittee’s Claim that his Continued Commitment Violated Equal Protection Failed Under State v. Golding for Lack of an Adequate Record; Whether Acquittee’s Assault Conviction Undermined Rationale for Commitment.  In 1985, Anthony Dyous was committed to the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board for a period not to exceed twenty-five years after being found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of kidnapping and threatening charges.  In 2012, the state filed a second petition seeking an extension of Dyous’ commitment pursuant to General Statutes § 17a-593 (c), which permits extension if it is determined that discharge would constitute a danger to the acquittee or to others.  The trial court granted the state's petition and extended the commitment until March 18, 2018.  Dyous appealed, claiming that, by granting the petition for continued commitment, the trial court violated his equal protection rights in that similarly situated mentally disordered prison inmates are not subject to unwilling continued confinement.  Dyous had not clearly raised the equal protection claim before the trial court, and he sought review under State v. Golding, 213 Conn. 233 (1989), which holds that a defendant can prevail on a claim of constitutional error that was not preserved at trial only if, among other things, the record is adequate to review the claim and the alleged constitutional violation clearly exists and clearly deprived the defendant of a fair trial.  The Appellate Court (153 Conn. App. 266) affirmed the judgment, concluding that the record was inadequate for Golding review of the equal protection claim because Dyous presented no evidence at trial in support of that claim.  The court stated that, while Dyous’ attorney argued at trial that the recidivism rate of persons who have been found not guilty by reason of mental disease is lower than that of prison inmates who are mentally disordered and released, the arguments of counsel did not constitute evidence.  The Appellate Court also rejected Dyous’ claim that his conviction of assault in the third degree in connection with his attack on another patient during his commitment constituted a finding by the trial court that he was sane such that the state had “lost its rationale to keep him committed.”  The court noted that, as Dyous had not asserted a mental disease or defect defense to the assault charge, there was no adjudication of his mental state at the time he was convicted of that charge.  The Appellate Court also noted that Dyous had not challenged the finding that he continued to pose a danger to himself or to society if discharged, that Dyous conceded that he had a mental illness and that, if anything, the assault conviction was further evidence that he continued to present a danger to himself or others.  The Supreme Court will now consider whether the Appellate Court properly determined that Dyous’ equal protection claim failed under Golding because the record was inadequate for review and properly determined that Dyous’ assault conviction did not undermine the rationale for his commitment.