A 70-year-old man in Washington D.C. has spent more than 40 years locked away in a D.C. hospital for the criminally insane. His crime: stealing a necklace worth $20.
Franklin H. Frye was sent to the psychiatric wing of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in 1971 after he was found not guilty by reason of insanity for stealing the necklace.
Six years ago, a public defender filed a motion asking a federal court to grant Mr. Frye an unconditional release. In the motion, attorneys for Mr. Frye cited his recovery over the last four decades he spent in psychiatric captivity as grounds for his release.
Frye’s case, however, is yet to be heard by a judge.
Psych ward: Franklin Frye has spent more than 40 years in the St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric facility for stealing a $20 necklace
In what the Washington Times – which broke the story about Mr. Frye after reviewing his case and federal court records – describes as ‘a serious judicial breakdown,’ Mr. Frye’s case seems to have slipped through the cracks.
According to the paper, the original judge assigned to Mr. Frye’s case died in 2007 – when the motion for Mr. Frye’s release was first filed.
The case wasn’t transferred to a judge who is still breathing until the last few weeks.
‘Mr. Frye has been waiting over five years to have this motion heard by the court,’ Silvana Naguib, a lawyer now representing him, wrote in a Jan. 8 legal filing.
‘Mr. Frye was accused of stealing a necklace that was valued at approximately twenty dollars,’ Ms. Naguib continued in the motion. ‘He has been at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital almost continuously since.’
Glacial pace: Frye’s most recent motion for his release was filed six years ago – but is yet to be heard by a judge
Like St. Elizabeth’s Hospital’s most famous resident, John Hinckley Jr. – the man who infamously shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981 – Mr. Frye has been permitted to spend short amounts of time out of the hospital. Until December, he was part of an outpatient program at Washington Hospital Center. That program ended because of funding problems – and Mr. Frye was sent back to the psychiatric ward.
Frye has filed several motions for his release over the last 40 years, including one two years after he was committed. In that motion, the hospital director recommended that Mr. Frye be unconditionally released. The judge, however, approved a conditional release so Mr. Frye could look for a job.
‘In the early years of Mr. Frye’s hospitalization, Mr. Frye would sometimes get in fights with other patients, often over money, food, clothing and the other hotly desired commodities of institutional life,’ Ms. Naguib wrote in her motion. ‘However, in the last decade, as Mr. Frye has aged, these conflicts have all but vanished. Now, nearly 70, Mr. Frye displays no dangerous behavior of any kind.’
Infamous: John Hinckley, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan, is also held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital
In his latest motion, Mr. Frye’s attorneys reiterate the claims made in the 2008 motion that was never heard by a judge: ‘Mr. Frye has recovered his sanity and no longer suffers from a mental illness as defined by law.’
Just one day after Naguib filed the most recent motion on Frye’s behalf, his case was transferred to a living judge. It’s unclear when – or if – the judge will rule on the motion for Mr. Frye’s release.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2544701/Man-spends-43-years-federal-psychiatric-hospital-stealing-necklace-worth-20.html#ixzz2rQ2O1Gu1
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3 thoughts on “Thief, 70, has spent 43 YEARS locked up in psychiatric hospital for stealing a necklace worth $20”
He pleaded insanity, and it took 40 years to drive him crazy, so “justice” has finally been served.
Franklin Frye has spent more than 40 years in the St. Elizabeth’s psychiatric facility for stealing a $20 necklace. The IRS and Fed steals trillions of dollars and get awards and free vacations. Now who is insane?
He could always come in handy when they need another James Holmes.