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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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I have had great luck with your service, and am seeking legal

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I have had great luck with your service, and am seeking legal advice on behalf of a friend. My friend, Alison, trains service dogs. She has a client who is epileptic. While having a seizure, the 25-year-old client, apparently in an irrational state, shoplifted and was caught. She was put on probation. During this probation, this happened again, and this time it was considered violation of probation and she was incarcerated. Alison went to Indian River County in Florida to try to come to her defense with a witness to enlighten the judicial system that this lady could not be held liable for her actions while in a convulsive state, and is legally disabled. She is not employed and collects disability because of her seizures. They completely failed to make the court see the light. The judge did not want to hear anything, and claimed the evidence spoke for itself in that she was on probation, shoplifted again violating probation, so she was incarcerated. The lady's mother will not come to her defense as she is completely ashamed of the condition of her daughter. Alison tried to give the police, and jail guards the lady's medicine, however they refused to take it as it was a controlled substance. A number of neuopsychotropic drugs are indeed controlled substances, and they insisted controlled substances were not allowed on the property. Alison tried to explain to the authorities that without her medicine, this lady can go into status epilepticus which will cause brain damange. She has already had surgery on her brain to try to curtail these seizures, which in and of itself causes brain damange, so further damange caused by status epilepticus would be even more devastating. The authorities would not listen.

Please enlighten me on the legal rights of an epileptic when in a convulsive state and to what degree they can be held accountable for their actions during a seizure. Can the judicial system legally deny an epileptic of her necessary medication, even if it is controlled substance, and can they be sued for this?

Please advise.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

In terms of an epileptic (or an involuntary) seizure the courts generally agree that an involuntary act that occurs the first time out is not something that creates liability. For example if someone has a seizure while driving and causes injury, the seizure would tend to negate the intent to cause and would not expose the person to criminal action (although they may still be pursued civilly). However it goes only toward 'involuntary' and uncontrolled actions.

Theft generally has the intent of taking something and not returning. It is likely not 'involuntary'. Consequently it likely does not follow under the epileptic defense since the act of picking up an item and then failing to return it does not appear as if it was done without any intent. Furthermore, this was a second event, and for a second event the courts are no longer as sympathetic or understanding. Using my initial example, if a person who now knows that he is susceptible to seizures gets into a vehicle, has a seizure, and causes injury would be held liable as he knowingly drove with a dangerous condition (himself). The courts would not excuse the behavior since the person himself failed to take reasonable precautions. The courts have even ruled that way in cases where someone has a seizure many years later after the first one, or where the individuals were on proper medication designed to control the effects.

In this case the argument that the person is not liable would not work based on the actual crime and on the fact that this was a subsequent event.

In terms of withholding medicine, once someone is incarcerated or held in detention, they become responsible for medical care and for allowing (or not allowing) medication to come through. It would have to require their own medical professional to review the medication and agree to permit it, otherwise the medication if it is not deemed essential can be denied.

Hope that helps, and please let me know if there is anything further that I can clarify. Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 36753
Experience: Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
Dimitry K., Esq. and 9 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

The public defender talked her into (scared her into) pleading guilty the first tme with no consideration of this being a seizure related. She has the use of only one hand. She was eating a hotdog, had no place to put drink while eating hotdog, so put drink in purse and they accused her of shop lifting. She had not even left the store at this point. You cannot accuse a person of shoplifting without proof that they had no intent to pay. The public defender talked her into pleading guilty by scaring her to death about jail. The second time, she was completely in a seizure and remembers nothing. She was in department store and had complex partial seizure the second time. If you look up medical information about complex partial seizures, people can go about routine daily tasks while having this type of seizure, including driving a car, changing their clothes, eating, etc. You can act perfectly normal while having a complex partial seizure, but not be. Please research this if you do not believe me. She was accused to taking a pair of jeans. She had just undergone anesthesia prior in the day, and the probation officer did not give her a chance to explain that she was suffering from a medical condition, and put her in jail. She had several seizures while in jail.


I am merely seeking legal insight into the victim's right for a friend. In my opinion, our society is on the way down the drain and our legal system is becoming a joke. This proof was offered to the judge who did not take time to examine it, and did not care enough to look into the situation. This is disgraceful.


 

Expert:  Dimitry K., Esq. replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for your follow up, Lynda.

I truly am sorry for your friend's predicament. Please understand that the answer that I have provided to you is based on existing laws and is not based on what your friend may hope to be the case. To ensure that I do not miss anything I will go line by line and respond to each concern you raised.


The public defender talked her into (scared her into) pleading guilty the first time with no consideration of this being a seizure related.

I am sorry to hear that but your friend had the choice to not listen to the PD, or appeal the decision, or choose to retain her own counsel if she had the means to do so. Pleading voluntarily really limits the options of appealing, which really makes this a non-issue for the most part, as it is not able to be reversed.

 

She has the use of only one hand. She was eating a hotdog, had no place to put drink while eating hotdog, so put drink in purse and they accused her of shop lifting. She had not even left the store at this point. You cannot accuse a person of shoplifting without proof that they had no intent to pay.

I apologize but that is simply not true. A person can most definitely be accused of shoplifting even if the have the means of paying. The intent has to be to leave without paying, which does not necessarily mean that a person has to walk out before that person can be stopped. In any case p,acing the item in a pursue appears to be an intentional act, which no longer appears to be an involuntary act based on some sort of a seizure.

 

The public defender talked her into pleading guilty by scaring her to death about jail.

The public defender was potentially correct since even a first time offender could potentially be sentenced to jail time. It is very unlikely, I agree, but it is possible.

 

The second time, she was completely in a seizure and remembers nothing. She was in department store and had complex partial seizure the second time. If you look up medical information about complex partial seizures, people can go about routine daily tasks while having this type of seizure, including driving a car, changing their clothes, eating, etc. You can act perfectly normal while having a complex partial seizure, but not be. Please research this if you do not believe me. She was accused to taking a pair of jeans. She had just undergone anesthesia prior in the day, and the probation officer did not give her a chance to explain that she was suffering from a medical condition, and put her in jail. She had several seizures while in jail.

In that situation your friend must obtain a medical doctor who is willing to appear in court and testify, or rather that is something that should have been done when she was being tried. The courts do pay attention to these expert witnesses who may be able to shed light to the events. But they will generally not listen to laypersons who have no medical training when the theories that are being provided are not well known, well researched, or potentially plausible. Whether or not I research this medical condition is somewhat irrelevant since I am not a medical doctor--what matters is placing someone with medical expertise on the stand to see whether or not they could explain this to the courts in a way that would shed insight to this event, and fight off the natural skepticism of blaming an involuntary condition on what the courts would see as an intentional act. This is not my opinion but how a typical judge would analyze this concern.

 

I am merely seeking legal insight into the victim's right for a friend.

There is always the ability to file a timely appeal for the second conviction. The first conviction at this point is no longer likely to be appealable,

 

In my opinion, our society is on the way down the drain and our legal system is becoming a joke. This proof was offered to the judge who did not take time to examine it, and did not care enough to look into the situation.

My apologies but it is not the judge's responsibility to conduct research--a judge is a fact gatherer but he is not the fact obtainer. The job to provide proper information to the judge is the defendant's or her attorney's. If that was not done, it may be a claim for ineffective assistance of counsel but a judge's role is not to act as an advocate for your friend or the other side--he is not an advocate for either side and is not supposed to do their work for them. I can understand your frustration and your concerns but it is not fair to blame a judge for something he is not supposed to do. Believe me if the judge was wrong I would have pointed it out, but I do not see it as that a situation. Let me provide you with a different example so that the distinction may be made. Say you have a contract with a friend that is not being executed as promised. You both go to court. The judge asks both of you for written terms of the contract so that the terms can be read and reviewed. Your friend says that the contract is posted on a locked site on the internet. The judge does not have to go search for it and he can instead look to your version of the contract if you brought one with you for review--the other party came unprepared. This is a similar situation where a judge likewise has no duty to conduct medical research--he can only parse information brought to him by the parties.

 

Good luck.

 

 

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