“Adam Berwid was the living converse of a Kesey nightmare: a criminally insane guy whom the device was no reluctant, however anxious, to release.”

by Teresa Carpenter




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One Walked the end of the Cuckoo’s Nest

Ewa Berwid knew perfectly well that her husband intended to kill her. Adam had actually told her so in a series of matter-of-fact letter penned on yellow legal sheets from the Nassau ar Jail. He would certainly strangle her, the promised. Push her ribs right through her back. 

So resolute was he in this obsession that throughout May that 1978, at some point after their divorce became final, that announced in open up court his intentions come take she life if she did not relinquish custody of your two tiny children, Adam and also Olga. After capturing a glimpse the her during a later appearance, the lunged for her and was tackled by sheriff’s deputies prior to he could straddle the rail the the jury box. 

Life because that Ewa Berwid became, as a result, one long-running nightmare. Even after Adam to be committed come a state psychological hospital because that observation, she never drew a totally free breath. Because that she knew that Adam was shrewd enough to elude those who watched him. She bought a revolver, maintained it by she bed, and tried to live sensibly v terror. 

Early last December, Adam Berwid persuaded a psychiatrist at Pilgrim Psychiatric center at Brentwood, long Island, to offer him a work pass. That was cost-free more than six hours before Ewa establish it. Once she did, that was too late. Soon after dusk on December 6, Ewa was at home with she two youngsters when she heard glass smashing in the basement. There to be no time to run upstairs because that the gun. She hurried rather to the wall phone in the kitchen in ~ the head the the basement stairs and punched 911. One emergency operator answered, however Ewa never had actually the opportunity to identify herself or utter a coherent message. Adam showed up at the peak of the stairs v a hunting knife, and also when he grabbed her the nightmare finished in a series of fast, flickering frozen frames. 


“Olga, get out!” Adam plunged the knife right into her neck and also chest with four fatal and audible blows. As the recipient dangled through its cord indigenous the wall, the police operator heard the muffled shuffles the a struggle and a woman crying, “He’s death me… I’m dying… Oh, God… Oh, God.” then there to be silence other than for a sigh. And also someone placed the receiver earlier on that is cradle. There to be no time to trace the call. 

Ewa Berwid’s death, while perhaps not the most ghastly homicide in this season of mutilations and also decapitations, was certainly one that the many infuriating. How might a woman marked so clearly for fatality be left so delicate by the police, by the courts, and also most an especially by the psychiatrist that granted Adam Berwid his day pass? 

During the main that followed the slaying, every one of those who can have saved her engaged in a frantic round of recriminations, do the efforts to discover some location to deposit the guilt. Both the Assembly and the Senate hosted hearings into the matter, during which legislators and public witnesses excoriated the State Office that Mental wellness for lax security and supervision. And the OMH, mortified and also anxious to street itself native the tragedy, announced that together the result of an intensive investigation the would, for the very first time in the history, suspend 2 psychiatrists for “misconduct.” The ax fell upon Berwid’s doctor, Irving Blumenthal, and also his immediate superior, Dr. Tsu-Teng Loo. Climate the state cooperated meekly through Nassau County district Attorney Denis Dillon, that asked that governmental charges be suspended temporarily so he can seek a criminal indictment versus the two physicians — a relocate which sent a chill through the clinical establishment and also challenged the already eroding principle that pa­tient-doctor privilege gives psychiatrists some unique immunity come prosecution. (A California supreme court hosted in 1974 the a psychia­trist dealing with a patient who utters threats must take measures to warn the prospective victim.) 

At present, Blumenthal and Loo are the most visible targets because that reprisal. Whether Dillon deserve to prove that they room criminals continues to be to be seen. But the responsibility for Ewa yes, really goes far past two fruit doctors. She was failed by an entire system of legislation that must have consisted of safeguards to safeguard her. The system, however, turned the end to be combed with trap-doors and also trip-locks. And also Adam Berwid slipped ideal through it. 


To it is in sure, the test of wills in between Adam and the mental health system to be a mismatch. He was clearly superior. Pilgrim’s director, Peggy O’Neill, claims in retrospect, “He was a really bright man. Super­bright. More than likely brighter than anybody treating him.” He was by every account remarkable. Even Ewa, throughout the critical months of she life, to be mesmerized in a horrible method by his enterprise. The all his genius need to be turn upon destroying her seemed unreal, due to the fact that she had actually once love him very much. 

Adam had actually courted her in Poland during the early sixties. She to be nineteen, a blonde unworldly engineering student. He to be twenty-six, dark and also domineering, already a nuclear engineer. He readily available to be she protector and she accepted. During the at an early stage years of their marriage, Adam conquered her v her blessing. In 1969 he carried her come America. They come in brand-new York City with only two little suitcases and $1,000 between them. But they both found great engineering jobs and eventually relocated to Mineola, where they to buy a usual white shingled home at 244 Wellington Road. 

A pair of years after leaving Poland, Ewa gave birth come Olga; 3 years later, to Adam. To all appearances, the Berwids and their two healthy and balanced infants were a family favored by fortune. Neighbors considered them close, devoutly Christian. Specifically Adam, whose spiritual convictions to be firm to the suggest of unyielding. 

No one is quite sure as soon as Adam’s difficulties began. In one theory, he was unhappy that Ewa ongoing to work-related after the kids were born. She to be advancing very rapidly and also eventually earned much more than he did. Jealousy of her success, that complained as soon as she hired housekeepers, and was resentful because she did no spend an ext time cooking, caring for the babies, and doting top top him. 


He stop his job, took the end a $25,000 little Business management loan, and also tried to start his own consulting firm. But he couldn’t do it go. And early in the summer of 1977, Eva discovered him growing increasingly strange. The children, the claimed, were in some type of danger. Once Ewa do the efforts to put them come bed early, Adam refused to enable it because, that said, “the devil” wanted them to go to bed early. 

Those amorphous fantasies gradually focused upon his wife. Once she readjusted the baby’s diaper and also nuzzled his stomach, Adam accused her of practicing sodomy upon the tiny boy. At an initial Ewa make the efforts to reason with him. As soon as that failed, she argued. The debates grew right into fights, and also he struck she for the an initial time in your marriage. During one of this bouts, Adam dragged her below by the hair and also threw her the end the former door. She derived a protective stimulate to store him far from her and also the children. He ignored it. She had him arrested and also then filed because that divorce. 

Much later, Adam wrote in “An open up Letter to the human being of Nassau County” that he feared for his children and also “that death their organic mother is the only effective means to defend my kids against her harmful techniques toward them.” Those delusions festered and swelled in the Nassau county Jail. It to be there he started writing death threats couched in long and also terrifying letters sent out to Ewa by certified mail. The risks were so explicit that they pertained to the fist of the ar attorney, who brought the most serious charge the law enabled — “aggravated harassment.” A misdemeanor. 

After Adam intimidated Ewa’s life in court, judge Joseph DeMaro set bail in ~ one million dollars and ordered psychiatric examinations to recognize whether Berwid was qualified of standing trial. The examina­tions revealed that Berwid to be incapacitated by a “personality disor­der” manifesting chin in delusions and paranoia. That was sent out upstate for ninety days of observation at Mid-Hudson Psychiatric center — the only hospital in brand-new York State fitted to manage violent or perhaps violent patients committed under court order. 


Here Berwid began slipping v the gears where criminal law and also mental health law did not rather mesh. Had actually he run afoul that Ewa a te earlier, he would have properly forfeited his civil rights and been packed turn off to Matteawan, a well known psychiatric prison which the state main­tained under scandalous situations until press for revolutionary closed it down during the mid-seventies. There he could have invested twenty to thirty years, in addition to a mismatched assortment of various other “violent” patients, being shocked, abused, and lobotomized. Yet Berwid, as it turned out, to be the living converse of a Kesey nightmare; a criminally insane male whom the system was no reluctant, yet anxious, to release. As shortly as he to be handed over by the court to the custody that the mental health system, the misdemeanor charge was immediately dropped and he came to be a polite patient. Together the result of a 1973 new York Court of Appeals decision, he to be entitled come equal rights in a system established — in the understanding of enlightened treatment — to move him up with the concentric one of institutional psychiatry and also out into society as conveniently as possible. The law forced it.

That Berwid should have been prematurely discharged by the mechanism came as no surprise to those familiar with Ewa’s predicament. It to be foreseen by at the very least one psychiatrist who, on the eve of Berwid’s exit for Mid-Hudson, warned the court that Adam own the type of genius forced to convince a psychiatrist somewhere follow me the course of his therapy that he to be sane. One young regulation intern in the Nassau county DA’s office read the statutes and saw what to be coming: that Berwid would be kept only until he lost the most noticeable signs that illness. And also then the regulation would have actually no reason, no right, to store him locked up. Therefore he referred Ewa to the ar Legal help Corporation, a consortium the Hofstra University legislation students and also their professors, with the hope the they could put in the hours of legal work it would certainly take to force the device to save her. 

Ewa’s brand-new lawyer, chuck McEvily, began an urgent correspondence through Mid-Hudson, requesting the management to recommit Berwid at the end of ninety days. In an extraordinary move, referee Joseph DeMaro also took it upon himself to compose the hospital, admonishing doctors to be careful because, as he placed it, “this court is convinced that the defendant intends to lug out his threat.” an assistant DA sent out a chilling and prophetic letter. Berwid, the wrote, to be “a clear and also homicidal threat” who, in one psychiatrist’s opinion, would even kill his children to protect against his mam from having them. “We have actually no doubt,” the assistant DA continued, “that if the is released, we will certainly be reading around the killing of Ewa Berwid in Newsday at part time in the future.” 

Sensitive come pressure, Mid-Hudson recommitted Berwid together an involuntary polite patient for an additional six months. But Ewa’s lawyer preserved up the non-saw correspondence. “We to be trying to gain the system to give us notification of every little thing happened before any decisions to transfer or release him can be made,” recalls Marjorie Mintzer, Ewa’s lawyer at the time of her death. “ to participate in those decisions due to the fact that she to be a clear and acknowledged future victim.… The medical professionals in the mental wellness system would never acknowledge that us had any rights whatsoever to participate in any decision including Adam Berwid.” 


Meanwhile, Berwid chafed in ~ his confinement, declare he to be being poisoned. But his most morbid delusions, as usual, centered around his family. The complained to one psychiatrist that maintaining him there was unfair since it preserved him from death Ewa. Yet after ripe months, Mid-Hudson authorities determined that keeping Berwid under maximum security would attain nothing more in the method of treatment, and also doctors began the wheel in movement to transport him to a less secure — much less prisonlike — setting. The an option was Pilgrim Psychi­atric center in Brentwood. In the eye of the mental health and wellness bureau­cracy, it to be the only choice. Pilgrim was the civil hospital closest to Mineola, and also the law compelled that a patient be transferred ago into his very own community, enabling him as much accessibility and support from family and also friends together possible. The patient, in this case, to be relocated come a spot in ~ one hour’s train ride indigenous his plan victim. 

Under the best of conditions, Pilgrim would not have actually welcomed Adam Berwid’s arrival. No one there really knew rather what to execute with criminals who filtered under from Mid-Hudson. There were no forensic wards staffed with criminal psychiatrists. No even any type of secure wards. Indeed, why need to there have been? Mental health reforms of the previous two decades emptied out Pilgrim’s acres of brick dorms — warehouses, they were referred to as — and transformed the sprawling psychiatric city into a “civil hospital” with duty for only around 3,000 geriatric patients. The intrusion of court-ordered patients to be a nuisance, also a menace, and also when one favor Adam arrived on the scene, Pilgrim’s many fervent expect was the he would gain well and also go away. 

Pilgrim did not want to save him, and Ewa — her dread heightened by the move — was in a quandary. “Take the children and also run,” girlfriend urged her. “Go far somewhere and readjust your name. Start a new life.” but she said no. She had a great job, friends, church, neighbors, a new male friend. She had actually an understanding with the neighborhood police, who cruised past her residence at intervals, checking because that trouble. Besides, she said, if Adam to be truly intent upon killing her, he would hunt her down no issue how much she ran. Perhaps, she mused to she attorneys, Adam yes, really was getting well. Hope to check out some real improvement, she visited visit him in ~ Pilgrim. It to be an amiable encounter. He seemed better. At least he was calm. That told her he want to move earlier in through her. Maybe they can even take trip together. Would she prefer that? together gently as possible, she told that no. And also he went back to his locked ward. 


The lock, however, verified illusory. Nobody watched Adam closely. That was partly due to the fact that the acute ward to which he to be assigned was in a state of turmoil as the result of an HEW investigation which had found inadequate education care, sloppy drug therapy, and also lax supervision of patients’ treatment. Employee was gift shifted here and also there, and also Berwid, that seems, was lost in the shuffle. ~ above April 5, 1979, he escaped, if friend can speak to it that. He just shoved open the push bar ~ above the locked ward, left the grounds, and walked thirty mile west come Mineola. Once the hospital uncovered he to be missing, one official informed Ewa for this reason she can take care not to be alone in the house. 2 days later, Ewa returned house with her masculine friend. Top top her way to the maximum floor bathroom, she i found it the bedroom door ajar. Indigenous an oblique angle, she observed Adam lying on the bed in his underwear. He showed up to be stirring from a sound sleep. She tiptoed downstairs and also went come the phone. The wires had been cut. She called the police from a neighbor’s house. But when the patrolmen arrived, they to be not quite sure what to do. Castle were no authorized to arrest Berwid, because Pilgrim had never sent out a teletyped post verifying his escape. Adam was docile together police debated for the next two hours whether or not they could take that in for trespassing. This had, ~ all, as soon as been his house. There seemed to it is in no statute covering the situation. Lastly they got word indigenous headquarters to take him the hell ago to Pilgrim. 

Within a week, that escaped again. This time, that pried loosened the chicken cable from a second-story bathroom home window and climbed down a rope of knot sheets. The night, 2 plainclothes detectives kept a vigil with Ewa in ~ the house. But Adam did not show. Instead, in ~ noon ~ above the following day, he surfaced in ~ Olga’s elementary college in Mineola and also demanded come take her away. The principal said Olga remained in class, climate quietly referred to as the police.

These escapes got Berwid transferred ago to maximum protection at Mid-Hudson. Over there his whole demeanor changed. The complain stopped. For seven months, he put his short, compact body with a everyday conditioning regimen of 100 sit-ups and five miles of laps. His delusions apparently subsided, and also days pass without point out of Ewa or the children. That filed a writ to the court insisting the he was no mentally ill. And also because he was no “acting out” — not raving or attack attendants — Mid-Hudson feeling it safe to transport him ago to Pilgrim v instructions the he be eased slowly ago into the community. 

Adam’s menacing background was chronicled in one black color loose-leaf binder. This record came before him wherever he went within the system and it consisted of everything: the assistant DA’s warning, DeMaro’s warning, the psychiatrist’s admonition the Adam would sooner or later con a doctor right into letting that go. And in so late November critical year, the record arrived at the workdesk of one elderly Pilgrim psychiatrist, Dr. Irving Blumenthal. As Adam’s doctor, Blumenthal had nearly absolute authority. The could problem his patience an honor card to stroll the grounds, or a work pass allowing him to leave the hospital unescorted. Together excursions are, after ~ all, considered good therapy — a type of decompression because that patients soon to be released. Blumenthal was cold and also noncommittal, therefore, once he received a contact from Legal help asking that to notify Ewa if Adam were allowed off-grounds unescorted. Blumenthal would not promise that. His rationale — one supported by the bulk of institutional psychiatrists up with the optimal echelons the the Office of Mental wellness — was the day overcome were part of therapy. To contact outsiders, therefore, violated con­fidentiality. Furthermore, the regulation did not require notice except when a patient escaped. 


Blumenthal’s superior, Dr. Loo, also refused to commit self to notice if the patient was enabled to leave. He was sufficiently alerted, however, come instruct a male treatment aide come flag Berwid’s notebook with huge red letter reading: POLICE should BE NOTI­FIED IF patient ESCAPES. Top top the front of the book, the aide likewise posted the telephone numbers of the police and Ewa ‘s lawyers, and Ewa ‘s unlisted number. 

Those warnings, therefore stark and also urgent, might hardly have actually escaped Blumenthal’s notice. Six days after Bcrwid arrived, Blumenthal observed for the clinical record that if Adam did indeed escape, emergency notice procedures would be followed. (He also signed a typed memorandum come that result one week later, ~ above December 3.) 

But during the two weeks that Benvid to be at Pilgrim, he was, together Blumenthal later on put it, “an absolute angel.” He helped other patients and rarely talked about his family other than to define that he wanted to visit family court again to see around getting his youngsters back. “Whatever he was told to do, he did,” director Peggy O’Neil recalls. “He even volunteered for more. In fact, he was at the point of questioning if he could get connected in the occupational program.… the was exceptionally cooperative. There was most likely a technique in his madness to be the cooperative.” Berwid started pressing for an respect card; he claimed he want to buy himself a winter coat. 

A little an ext than 2 weeks ~ Berwid arrived, Blumenthal stunned his treatment team by announcing that he was giving Berwid both an honor card and a job pass. Berwid had received no intensive therapy. He had met only when with the team to attract up his treatment setup — one the specified boosting relations v his “wife” — and was reserved to check out a psychiatrist only once a week because that an hour. One nurse, particularly distressed through the possibility of the passes, discussed to the others that Berwid hadn’t been around long sufficient to it is in evaluated effectively — the hospital policy dictated expanding freedom by degrees. Nevertheless, Blumenthal authorized 2 excursions, and also the following morning, December 5, Berwid was permitted to roam complimentary on the grounds. 


When that failed to return through 4:00 P.M. Curfew, the nurse ~ above duty said Blumenthal the she was worried and suggested that he call all the next on the front of Berwid’s binder. Blumenthal dismissed the warning, saying the emergency notice did not use to a job pass. The then prolonged Berwid’s curfew come 9:00 P.M. Berwid wandered in sometime prior to 5:30 P.M., apparently providing no explanation of whereby he had been, other than that he had checked $100 the end of his institutional savings account come buy a coat. Instead of disciplining him, Blumenthal signed him the end on a day pass the following morning, December 6. The was the 2nd anniversary the the Berwids’ divorce. Blumenthal’s noticeable indulgence worried two nurses, that took their involves to Dr. Loo, who telephoned Blumenthal to satisfy himself that the case was under control. At the point, Loo might have overridden the pass. Yet he go not. 

Berwid left the acute-care ward shortly after 10:00 A.M. That was quit by a ar patrolman, but he flashed his pass and was waved on. Follow to the itinerary he had actually outlined come Blumenthal, he to be to take his $100, get on a bus come Bay Shore 3 miles to the south, and also shop because that a coat. No one appears to have noticed the Berwid already had a winter coat. 

Instead of heading because that Bay Shore, Berwid took the long Island rail from the West Brentwood terminal to Mineola. The train deposited him at the outskirts of his old neighborhood. He strolled to a Friendly ice cream Cream Shop around the corner from Ewa’s house and ate an unhurried having lunch — a hamburger and coffee. That dropped by the dentist’s office to have his teeth cleaned. Then he go shopping because that a knife at Herman’s civilization of Sporting Goods. He discovered one that would certainly do. It had a short, utilitarian blade. Around five inches. The type of knife a woodman could use to dress a deer. His errands complete, that waited till dark. 

When Pilgrim’s evening shift came ~ above duty, the same nurse who had actually urged Blumenthal the night before to notify police to be disturbed to discover Berwid had once more not met the 4:00 P.M. Curfew. Her fears subsided when, at 4:30 P.M., he dubbed in to say the he had taken the wrong train and ended up in ~ Penn terminal in new York City. He would be earlier in a couple of hours. He was not, of course, in new York at all, but at the Mineola train station only ten minutes away from Ewa, who was start to prepare dinner for Adam and also Olga. Nobody else was at home. Adam arrived in the dark and also walked down the driveway come the backyard. There he jimmied turn off the display screen of one of the squat rectangular basement windows and, v the narrow opening, he dropped come the basement floor and also climbed the stairs. At the top, he ordered Ewa, that was standing at the phone, and stabbed her again, and again and again. 


When she to be still, he collection to occupational putting things in order. That methodically mended the broken window with boards. That cleaned the blood indigenous the kitchen floor and also washed himself. He gotten rid of some that Ewa’s garments and washed her too. Then he carried her come the prior room, wherein he laid she on a cot and folded her arms over her chest. He spanned her v a outlet brown blanket, then put a tiny votive candle ~ above either side of her body. On one wall, that fashioned a overcome of red ribbons. Climate he commenced a disastrous wake, summoning Olga and also Adam, that were cowering in one upstairs bedroom. 

“Pray because that Mommy,” he told them. “Kiss Mommy good-bye.” then he sent them ago upstairs to sleep. 

Berwid did not go back to Pilgrim in ~ 6:00 P.M. Together he had actually promised. But the ward nurse did not start emergency notification. Quiet bound by Blumenthal’s order to extend curfew, she waited. It was not until 9:00 P.M., therefore, the the staff started calling the number on the front of Berwid’s black binder. No answer in ~ Legal Assistance. No answer in ~ Ewa’s number. They sent out her a mailgram informing she in passionless terms the Mr. Berwid to be off the grounds there is no consent. The police came down on Wellington Road about 9:30 P.M. They rang the doorbell and checked for indications of a break-in yet everything appeared secure. For this reason they left. Around 11:00 P.M., however, Pilgrim sent a an ext urgent blog post out end the teletype, and three patrolmen familiar with Ewa’s situation went to check the residence again. They banged ~ above the doors and peered in the windows. The residence was dark other than for a pass out glow, too weak to it is in an incandescent bulb, that appeared to come from the prior room. They claimed it to be a night light. One cop spotted the morning’s Daily News quiet lying in the yard and speculated that Ewa had already learned the Adam’s escape and also had fled with the children. For this reason they journey away. And all the while, Adam satellite by candlelight ruminating over Ewa’s body. 

Next morning, about 8:45, Berwid referred to as the DA’s office. No one remained in yet; the contact was choose up by the police operator that advised him to shot again at 9:00. 

“Thanks,” he replied, “I’ll contact back.” 


Finally getting to an assistant DA, he explained calmly the he had actually escaped from Pilgrim and also that he had murdered his wife. Detectives from ar Homicide to be the an initial to arrive. Adam and also Olga waved to them native an upstairs window. The detectives waved back. Adam answered the door and also took them come Ewa’s body. Only later on that afternoon walk the police play earlier that fragmentized emergency 911 tape and realize the speak to had come from Ewa, the corpse top top the cot. The adhering to day, a postman delivered the mailgram from Pilgrim inform­ing Ewa she husband had actually escaped. No one had thought to send the warning one-of-a-kind Delivery. 

Adam Berwid inflicted heavy casualties not just upon his harried victim yet upon everyone around her. The youngsters he sought to save from evil are currently under a psychiatrist’s care. Ewa’s lawyers feeling bitter and also mortally cheated. 

Dr. Loo apparently is get over with remorse and has to be hospitalized for heart problems. Blumenthal tho admits come no error in judgment. Neither guy will talk about the case. They are stifled, that course, through the danger of criminal indictment — a prospect which has thrown a pall end psychiatry in new York. Throughout the weeks instantly following the murder, patients’ rights supporters reported a dread reluctance among psychiatrists come make release decisions. Their defense: Psychiatry is one art, not a science. Us cannot phone call you when a patient will kill. 

One probable and also far-reaching an effect of the Berwid scandal is the it is most likely to give rise to a “defensive psychiatry” wherein doctors will do fewer mistake simply since they will certainly make fewer decisions. “The physicians are as human as we are,” claims patient-rights advocate Alfred Besunder. “If they’re fear they’re walk to acquire their backsides sued, they’re going come say, ‘The hell with it. I’m no going come make any decisions…’ and also for some patient who has actually been make progress, the is tragic.” 

One opinion that is acquiring support among psychiatrists is the doctors need to be given absolute immunity — in the exact same manner, perhaps, the the U.S. Supreme Court recently permitted immunity for parole officers. Quick of that, the decisions for relax of possibly dangerous patients will probably end up in the courts. In the opinion of Ewa’s attorney, Marjorie Mintzer, that is simply where the duty belongs.




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“I have a feeling,” says Mintzer, “that physicians are not trained to look past their duty your patients. Currently it may have been in Adam Berwid’s finest interest to have actually a chance exterior of the institution for a day.… but would girlfriend balance the minimal good it might have done the threat to society? and if so, would you put that decision in the hand of a doctor? ns wouldn’t. Judges make those decisions.” 

The legislature, currently rallying to uncover remedies, has entertained a spate of proposals, some so reactionary they would certainly roll back two years of reform in mental health. However others are much more moderate. One remarkably restrained bill come out of the office the the Nassau ar DA, who proposes to caulk the “statutory gap” in between criminal and mental health law by allowing the DA to save tabs on a court-ordered patient even after that patient is turned end to the mental health and wellness system. It would require doctors to educate police and also any potential victim at the very least two days before a patient is given a job pass. Implicit within this proposal is the strength of the prosecutor to challenge a doctor’s decision in court, happen in his very own psychiatrists come air conflicting clinical opinions before a judge. Also a fairly con­servative proposal such together this, however, will run into difficulties in the definition of “potentially violent.” If psychiatrists confess their own inability to predict violent behavior, who will do the determination? 

Even assuming the the notice bill survives close constitution scrutiny, that does no really reach to the heart of the problem. The reality is that Berwid was mischanneled v a maze of law right into a mental health and wellness system fitted neither come treat him no one to incarcerate him. He clearly does not belong there. However to straight him elsewhere, with the penal system, would certainly be to buck a criterion going ago to Anglo-Saxon law, i m sorry holds that an insane guy cannot be hosted a criminal. Assuming the venerable McNaughton legal an interpretation of insanity deserve to be changed to enable the criminally insane to be treated in ~ prisons will typical spending millions to carry out clinical facilities. To keep them within the mental health system, ~ above the various other hand, will typical spending millions top top secure and forensic wards. Either way, the pendulum swings earlier toward the jail mentality of Matteawan and Dan­nemora. 


Berwid has actually not actually created any brand-new dilemmas: he has actually simply stirred the embers that old controversies. And as they burn approximately him, he sits in the Nassau ar Jail tho imposing his own will ~ above events. Confessing in ~ the little provocation. Confounding the system. 

Last December, he created to Newsday indigenous jail: “I did mine act of taking a person life, not in the surname of hatred towards my former wife, yet in the name of Jesus Christ to protect my love ones.” he considers his cause righteous and is quite details that judge and jury will view the righteousness in what the did. 

Meanwhile, he is drawing up a fatality list of all those that have suggested he is insane. The list includes his an initial court-appointed lawyer — who he fired — and a 2nd to who he proper speaks. To facilitate this righteous executions, he has applied for a handgun permit. 

He refuses to plead chaste by factor of insanity and will not permit himself to be check by psychiatrists. How, they ask, deserve to you study a mute man? return charged with second-degree murder, he has actually twice refused to concerned court voluntarily because that his arraignment, and a frustrated judge Richard Delin has actually ordered the use of force, if necessary, to bring him to his next hearing, set for so late February. 

If Adam Berwid is found qualified of standing trial, that will practically certainly be acquitted by factor of insanity. In the case, he will certainly be sent back through the cycle come Mid-Hudson, whereby felony charges against him will at some point lapse.