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Transfer of second Jackson County Jail GEI inmate ordered

Judge orders state to transport guilty but insanity county jail inmate to a psychiatric treatment location

The second of two men declared guilty but insane who have been waiting for months inside the Jackson County Jail to receive court-ordered psychiatric treatment might soon be transferred to the Oregon State Hospital or some other care facility.

On Dec. 3, Jackson County Circuit Court Judge pro temp Paul Moser ordered the Oregon State Hospital and Oregon Health Authority to transport Darryl Walker to “an appropriate mental hospital or other suitable facility in accordance with Judge (Laura) Cromwell’s order of July 26, 2021, within seven days of the date of this judgment.”

Walker, 43, is one of two men held for months in the county jail who had been declared guilty except for insanity, with court orders for psychiatrist treatment as the major component of their sentencing.

Walker was sentenced to receive psychiatric treatment after tying up and stabbing a family member while hallucinating that the victim was someone else, a person who had kidnapped him as a child, according to a probable cause affidavit created soon after his arrest. He was arrested for that incident in mid-February.

The other guilty but insane man held for months in the jail was Aaron David Whitley, who was sentenced in January after attempting to commit a carjacking in Ashland in February 2020.

Whitley, 39, spent more than 10 months waiting in the county jail to begin court-sentenced psychiatric treatment. He was moved to the Oregon State Hospital Nov. 19, the day before the remedial contempt hearing occurred.

Moser decided the remedial contempt case filed on behalf of Whitley and later, Walker, by lawyer Alyssa Bartholomew, of Southern Oregon Public Defenders Inc., didn’t require the state to provide Whitley with anything more because they had taken him into the state hospital to begin treatment. The Oregon Health Authority had also just added two dozen beds for some guilty except for insanity patients in Junction City.

In August, Bartholomew succeeded in getting Whitley released from the county jail with the intention that he could wait to be admitted to the state hospital — or some other comparable treatment program — from outside of the jail. She also provided the option for the state to fulfill the original judge’s order for Whitley to be moved to the state hospital so his treatment could begin.

The District Attorney’s office was successful in reversing that decision, and Whitley was returned to the jail within a couple of days.

Bartholomew said that for Whitley — and other people around the state found guilty but insane who have sat in local jails waiting to begin receiving psychiatric care — continued postponement of psychiatric treatment not only violates the commitment orders made by case judges, it’s also “constitutionally wrong for someone to sit in jail for so long. It’s atrocious. A travesty.”

Reach reporter Terri Harber at 541-776-4468 or tharber@rosebudmedia.com.