Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The Error Appears Very Early in the Decision

The public policy error, I mean.  Hoodbhoy v. D.C. (D.C.App. 2022):

Hilman Jordan shot and killed Jawaid Bhutto in the parking lot of the condominium building where they both lived. At the time of the attack, Jordan was on conditional release from Saint Elizabeths Hospital, where he had been committed two decades earlier following his acquittal, by reason of insanity, on a first-degree murder charge. Jordan’s release from Saint Elizabeths was granted via a Superior Court order requiring that both Jordan and the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (“DBH”) comply with certain conditions, intended to ensure Jordan would “not pose a danger to himself or others” while living in the community. In the months preceding the shooting, DBH failed to perform several of the duties required by the court order. Most significantly, after Jordan tested positive on multiple drug tests, DBH failed to return him to Saint Elizabeths or even inform the Superior Court of those results. 

Yes.  Not guilty by reason of insanity?  Release him.  Do not bother to keep track of his misbehavior. And somehow even though subject to a firearms disqualifier in what is still a pretty antigun juridiction, he got a gun.

And of course, the widow's suit:

However, when a plaintiff alleges the “District negligently failed to protect [them] from harm,” the first element of a negligence claim—duty—is governed by the public duty doctrine, under which the “government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any particular individual citizen.”  

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