United States District Court, D. Minnesota
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon respondent Calvin
Wedington's objection to the August 8, 2019, report and
recommendation (R&R) of Magistrate Judge Steven E. Rau.
In his report, the magistrate judge recommended that: (1)
Wedington's motion for a hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C.
§ 4247(h) be denied; and (2) Wedington should remain in
the custody of the Attorney General of the United States
pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4245. Wedington timely objected.
court reviews the R&R de novo. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(C); D. Minn. LR 72.2(b). After a careful review,
the court finds that the R&R is well reasoned and
is a federal prisoner who was sentenced to life imprisonment
for second-degree murder in 1982. On June 2, 2005, this court
committed Wedington to FMC-Rochester for treatment pursuant
to 18 U.S.C. § 4245. In April 2019, Wedington filed a
motion pursuant to § 4247(h), requesting a hearing to
determine whether he should be discharged from commitment and
placed in the general prison population. ECF No. 183. After
an evidentiary hearing and briefing by the parties, the
magistrate judge recommended that Wedington's motion be
denied. See ECF No. 201.
does not object to the R&R's statement of the
relevant legal standard. Instead, Wedington objects to the
conclusion that he needs to be committed in order to receive
treatment for his mental illness. ECF No. 204 at 1.
§ 4245, an inmate may be discharged from commitment if
he shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that either (1)
he is not “presently suffering from a mental disease or
defect, ” (2) he is not “in need of
custody” for the treatment of the mental disease or
defect, or (3) the facility is not suitable for care or
treatment. 18 U.S.C. § 4245(d); see also United
States v. Wedington, 539 Fed.Appx. 698, 699 (8th Cir.
2013) (adopting the preponderance of the evidence standard
from United States v. Frierson, 208 F.3d 282 (1st
Cir. 2000)). In the R&R, Magistrate Judge Rau concluded
that Wedington does presently suffer from a mental disease or
defect, he is in need of custody for treatment, and the
facility wherein Wedington is currently held is suitable.
See generally ECF No. 201.
objects to the R&R's second conclusion, that he is
“in need of custody” for treatment. ECF No. 204
at 1-2. He states “that he has recovered sufficiently
so that custody for purposes of treatment is no
longer needed, ” and argues that the R&R improperly
conflated the “in need of custody” standard with
his being in need of treatment. Id. (emphasis
omitted). Wedington contends that Magistrate Judge Rau erred
in allegedly assuming that Wedington's treatment would
cease if he were discharged from custody. Id. at
2-3. Though Wedington does not dispute that he has stated he
would stop taking his psychotropic medication if he were
discharged, he argues that he can be properly treated for his
schizophrenia without taking this medication and without
remaining in custody. Id. To support this argument,
Wedington points to record evidence that his mental state and
overall wellness has improved markedly since his commitment
began in 2005. Id. at 3-4.
court finds that the R&R properly considered whether
Wedington is “in need of custody” for treatment
of his schizophrenia. An inmate may be “in need of
custody” when he would pose a danger to himself or
others if his mental illness is left untreated. United
States v. Horne, 955 F.Supp. 1141, 1149 (D. Minn. 1996).
An inmate poses a danger to himself when his mental illness
prevents him “from making rational decisions about his
medical care.” United States v. Clark, 122
Fed.Appx. 282, 283 (8th Cir. 2005).
Judge Rau's conclusion that Wedington is still “in
need of custody” for treatment is not based on an
assumption that treatment would cease if his commitment is
lifted. Rather, it is based on undisputed record evidence. As
the R&R properly concluded, the record contains
sufficient evidence that Wedington would stop taking his
psychotropic medication to control his schizophrenia if his
commitment were lifted. See ECF No. 201 at 13-15.
The record further illustrates that if Wedington stops taking
his medication, he will decompensate, as he has done in the
past, and may serve as a risk to himself or others. See
Id. Because Wedington would cease taking his medication
if he were discharged from commitment, he remains “in
need of custody” for treatment.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that:
1. Wedington's objection [ECF No. 204] to the R&R is