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The People v. Zacharius Everett Kleinsasser

December 19, 2011


(Super. Ct. No. CRF962750)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Robie , Acting P. J.

P. v. Kleinsasser



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

Defendant Zacharius Everett Kleinsasser appeals from an order extending his mental health commitment. Defendant contends the judgment should be reversed because there was no substantial evidence that he is presently dangerous and unable to control his dangerous behavior. Finding no merit in this argument, we affirm.


In 1996, defendant was charged with making a threat of injury to a public officer and attempted extortion. He was not apprehended until 2001. In 2003, the trial court found him guilty of both counts and then found him not guilty by reason of insanity. After he exhibited behavior that represented decompensation and ultimately reoffense, the court revoked his outpatient status and committed him to the Napa State Hospital.

In March 2011, the prosecutor filed a petition for a two-year extension of defendant's commitment, which was scheduled to expire in July. On June 7, 2011, a court trial was held to determine whether defendant's commitment should be extended.

At the court trial, the prosecutor called Dr. James Eyerman, a staff psychiatrist at the Napa State Hospital, who had served as defendant's psychiatrist "off and on" since 2008. Dr. Eyerman testified that defendant should remain at Napa State Hospital because he continues to suffer from schizoaffective disorder. Specifically, Dr. Eyerman noted that defendant "has periods where he's grandiose, periods where he's depressed or irritable, and he has continuous delusional ideation, sometimes quite grandiose and hyper-religious, sometimes quite paranoid and of persecutory flavor, and these delusions may be more evident at some times, and otherwise he does not speak about them freely, and he has to sort of -- one must engage in a bit of dialogue with him to elicit these delusions or persecutory ideation. [¶] Other times he's quite florid and he presents himself with complaints about the hospital being corrupt, and he being an FBI agent or Navy Seal and undercover to, you know, basically get the goods on how the hospital is running so it can be destroyed."

Dr. Eyerman concluded that defendant posed a substantial danger of physical harm to others as a result of his mental disease. Dr. Eyerman testified that within the last year defendant had verbally assaulted patients and the staff and even threatened to kill Dr. Eyerman and other staff members. Dr. Eyerman testified that they "had to call for reenforcements before [they] gave him medication." He admitted that defendant's behavior had recently improved with medication. Dr. Eyerman also noted, however, that defendant had "not achieved a degree of behavioral control, which would allow him to progress to an open unit and take responsibility for his behavior and follow medications in a less structured fashion." Specifically, Dr. Eyerman testified that "without supervision [defendant] ha[d] not complied with medications in the past" and he "lacks insight in to his illness" and "maintains a degree of delusional, psychotic thinking [that is] present continuously," but that he was beginning to cooperate by taking his medications more recently and had even been taking his medications voluntarily since late September or early October 2010 (although without protest only since December 2010).

Dr. Eyerman subsequently testified that to consider releasing defendant, he would need to observe him in a structured setting at the hospital for a year to determine whether the medications actually help keep defendant's symptoms in "abeyance." If successful after a year, defendant would be transferred to an "open unit" with less structure and supervision to determine whether he is willing to comply with treatment on his own. Defendant claimed he was placed on the open unit list in April 2011.

The trial court found "beyond a reasonable doubt that [defendant] does suffer from a mental disease, defect or disorder, and that that poses a substantial danger of physical harm to others, and he would have serious difficulty in controlling his dangerous behavior." As a result, the trial ...

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