September 24, 2019
for discharge from the jurisdiction of the psychiatric
security review board, brought to the Superior Court in the
judicial district of Hartford and tried to the court,
D'Addabbo, J.; judgment dismissing the
application, from which the acquittee appealed to this court.
P. Radler, public defender, with whom was Richard E. Condon,
Jr., senior assistant public defender, for the appellant
Hanna, assistant state's attorney, with whom, on the
brief, were Gail P. Hardy, state's attorney, Vicki
Melchiorre, supervisory assistant state's attorney, and
Adam B. Scott, supervisory assistant state's attorney,
for the appellee (state).
Bright, Moll and Bishop, Js.
acquittee,  Ruben Vasquez, appeals from the judgment
of the trial court denying his application for discharge from
the jurisdiction of the Psychiatric Security Review Board
(board). On appeal, the acquittee claims that the
court erred in denying his application for discharge because
the diagnoses attributed to him-cannabis induced psychotic
episode, an acute intoxication now in full remission;
cannabis use disorder in remission in a controlled
environment; and alcohol use disorder in remission in a
controlled environment-are not considered mental illnesses
and, thus, do not constitute psychiatric disabilities under
General Statutes §§ 17a-580 through 17a-602 (board
statutes). We affirm the judgment of the court.
following facts and procedural history are relevant to our
analysis. ‘‘[On July 14, 2009, the acquittee] . .
. randomly attack[ed] five young individuals, with a four
foot six inch [one by four] hard yellow pine pressure treated
board. Two of the young individuals attacked were a three and
one year old child. While being taken into custody, [the
acquittee] physically attacked a police officer.''
acquittee was charged with four counts of assault in the
second degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-60
(a) (2), two counts of risk of injury to a child in violation
of General Statutes § 53-21 (a) (1), four counts of
criminal attempt to commit assault in the first degree in
violation of General Statutes §§ 53a-49 and 53a-50
(a) (1), and two counts of assault of a peace officer in
violation of General Statutes § 53a-167c (a)
On June 7, 2011, the acquittee was found not guilty by reason
of mental disease or defect pursuant to General Statutes
§ 53a-13. On August 8, 2011, the court,
Randolph, J., committed the acquittee to the
jurisdiction of the board and ordered that he be confined at
Dutcher Service on the campus of the Connecticut Valley
Hospital for a period not to exceed fifteen years.
25, 2017, in accordance with § 17a-593 (a), the
acquittee filed an application with the court seeking
discharge from the jurisdiction of the board. The court
forwarded the application to the board, which held a hearing
on September 15, 2017, pursuant to General Statutes §
17a-593 (d). On October 26, 2017, the board filed its report
with the court recommending that the acquittee not be
discharged because ‘‘[a]lthough [the
acquittee's] psychotic symptoms have not been active
since his commitment to the [b]oard, he has repeatedly
demonstrated poor judgment, impulsivity, deceitfulness and
rule breaking behavior. He has disregarded the rules and
protocols in a hospital setting, thereby jeopardizing the
[t]emporary [l]eave that would have permitted [the acquittee]
to transition to the community. [The acquittee's]
treatment team has recommended he con- sider medication to
assist with some of his problematic behaviors, but he has
declined the recommendation.''
addition, in its report filed with the court, the board
discussed the acquittee's risk factors, stating that
‘‘[a] significant risk factor for [the acquittee]
remains his history of substance use. As testimony indicated,
a substance use relapse would increase [the acquittee's]
risk for a re-emergence of his psychotic symptoms. Testimony
noted that stress has the potential to exacerbate [the
acquittee's] risk of relapse. If discharged from the
jurisdiction of the [b]oard, [the acquittee] would return to
the community without an established support network. Given
that [the acquittee's] psychotic symptoms are intimately
tied to his substance use, and [that the acquittee] failed to
conform his behavior appropriately in a supervised inpatient
setting, the [b]oard finds that [the acquittee's] risk
for a substance abuse relapse in a nonsupervised setting
without an established community support network is
significant. Therefore, the [b]oard finds that [the
acquittee] cannot reside safely in the community without
[b]oard oversight and should remain under the supervision and
jurisdiction of the [b]oard.''
29, 2018, after receiving the report, the court,
D'Addabbo, J., held a hearing on the
acquittee's application for discharge pursuant to §
17a-593 (f). The court heard testimony from the following
individuals: Maya Prabhu, M.D., consultant to the Department
of Mental Health & Addiction Services; the acquittee; and
Larry Spencer of the Capitol Region Mental Health Center. The
court concluded the evidentiary portion of the hearing on May
29, 2018, and heard arguments from the parties'
respective counsel on June 18, 2018.
27, 2018, the court issued a memorandum of decision denying
the acquittee's application for discharge, concluding
that, on the basis of the evidence presented at the May 29,
2018 hearing, the acquittee has ‘‘psychiatric
disabilities'' and ‘‘if . . . released
from the [b]oard's supervision entirely . . . would . . .
present a ...