Man found not guilty by reason of insanity

Man found not guilty by reason of insanity

URBANA — A Champaign man has been acquitted by reason of insanity of charges of aggravated battery and attempted disarming of a police officer.

In a bench trial Thursday, Judge Heidi Ladd found that Jamahl Johnson, 35, whose last known address was in the 1400 block of West Kirby Avenue, was not guilty of charges that he tried to take a Champaign police officer's gun in a struggle in May on Hedge Road in Champaign.

Police had been called by a man who reported someone trespassing on a neighbor's property.

Police located Johnson, who ran from them but was caught. He allegedly tried to disarm officers.

Although he was acquitted of the criminal charges, he remains in the Champaign County Jail until he can be evaluated by representatives of the Department of Human Services, who will determine what, if any, kind of services he needs.

Ladd set a review hearing for Dec. 13.

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use er name wrote on November 03, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Thursday's news on Sunday. Well at least I didn't have to buy the paper that has more than halved local coverage in deference to Rantucky and Dantucky, and has quadrupled in price. Keep up the great work guys!

SouthernMan wrote on November 03, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Look him up on the Champaign County Circuit Clerk web site. This isn't his first rodeo as far as trying to remove a firearm from a peace officer. Go ahead and set him free so he can do it again. The judicial system at it's best. It's just a matter of time before he goes in for murder.

Local Yocal wrote on November 04, 2013 at 5:11 am
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He's not going free anytime soon. He'll be transferred to DHS for a long time.

RN4Veterans wrote on November 04, 2013 at 8:11 am

And this ridiculous ruling is exactly why our citizens are not safe on America's streets today. Instead of going after legal gun owners, why not tweek the laws to keep repeat offenders off the streets, along with gang-bangers, and those that are risk to others, obviously, such as this man. 

Local Yocal wrote on November 05, 2013 at 8:11 am
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The "ridiculous ruling" probably heard extensive evidence of a long-time mental illness, which caused Mr. Johnson to trespass a property in the first place and engage in a struggle with officers. What needs to be tweaked is the mental health system that would provide more emergency beds, and more supervised residential housing (especially for clients with prior criminal records.) No need to worry about Johnson showing up at your house next week. He isn't getting out for years.

It's not like Johnson has the money to afford a Steve Beckett who would get his client out after committing attempted murder and murder of their own children, aka Dr. Fineberg of Cherry Hills.

STM wrote on November 05, 2013 at 8:11 am


If this is some kind of argument for everyone carrying a firearm, it's very weak.  For instance, if this guy had tried to take a firearm off your average citizen (instead of a cop), he might have succeeded.  

Also, far more people are killed accidentally by guns in this country than on purpose. I'll take my chances without a gun, thank you.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 05, 2013 at 12:11 pm

"Insanity" is a legal term.  Does the public really care whether a criminal is insane, or not, when a crime was committed? 

DHS Mental Health services are limited due to the state's finances going to corporate welfare, grants, and pork barrel projects.  The criminal will be housed temporarily in a facility until his meds kick in.  After awhile; he will be released as long as he promises to take his meds, and to check in periodically with someone.

The "gun talk" is not necessary.  The police did their job.  Save the John Wayne wantabee attitudes until the police do not do their job.  Kudos to the Champaign police officers. 

Local Yocal wrote on November 05, 2013 at 6:11 pm
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"Does the public really care whether a criminal is insane, or not, when a crime was committed?"

Only when their child/relative is the defendant. The law still cares a little, and the bar is very high to render a Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity verdict. Insanity verdicts rarely ever happen, and alcohol intoxication and drug intoxication is not a criminal defense.

Because.....70-80% of the incarcerated have a substance abuse problem, and nearly 30% have a chronic mental condition if you don't count depression and other mood disorders. To get an insanity verdict requires an extraordinary condition that renders the defendant unable to appreciate the criminality of their conduct at the time of offense, and unable to assist with their defense. To go forward with a prosecution, would be to deny the person's rights because they would be unaware of them. There are less than 10 of these a year in Champaign County, if not fewer.

And you're right to suspect that the mental health system has been dismantled and the funds raided for pork, ect. How that impacts Johnson's length of stay in DHS is unknown by me. I suspect with priors of the same conduct, and a history of illness, a psychiatrist will be loathe to release him within a year. What is sad, is there will be no place to release him to that could monitor his condition and provide supervision if his situation is ongoing. We probably will be reading about him again within the next 5 years.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 05, 2013 at 8:11 pm

What about when their child/relative is the victim?  Who cares about the substance abuse problem, or chronic mental condition of the criminal when innocents are victims?  Who cares about the parents who raised them?  How about protecting the innocents instead of the criminal?  Fortunately, the latest mall shooter shot himself instead of the police doing it.  Do you think that the parents in Newtown care about the chronic mental problems that the man who shot their kids had?  Your 70-80% of the incarcerated committed a crime against a victim.  Who cares about their problems?  Keep them from hurting others again.  A solution must be found to make sure that they never, ever do it again. 

The prisons are so full of them that they are being released early on parole.  However; there are not enough parole officers, mental health professionals, and substance abuse counselors to service them all.  Your right about no place to release him, and reading about him again.

Local Yocal wrote on November 06, 2013 at 12:11 am
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"Your 70-80% of the incarcerated committed a crime against a victim."

While grotesque crimes like Newtown grab our imaginations, that is not who we incarcerate half the time. The word "criminal" has been associated with murderer  and rapist. That is not the majority of who is in the prisons, causing the overcrowding, and the lack of staffing. Half the prisoners are there for non-violent offenses, nearly 10,000 are there for drugs. (pg. 45, IDOC FY'12 Annual Report.) And it's the prohibition against same causing most of the burglaries.

30,702 people were admitted into Illinois prisons in 2012 and 31,460 were released from prison in 2012. (pg. 50, ibid)

For a visual of what it looks like:


Sid Saltfork wrote on November 06, 2013 at 8:11 am

Oh...the poor criminal.....  It is trite; but "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."  I am all for sending them to Texas, Mexico, or the Phillipines; and paying for their keep there.  It would be cheaper, and safer.  


Local Yocal wrote on November 06, 2013 at 10:11 am
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Ah, the poor Anheiser-Busch and Phillip Morris corporations...see if they would be willing to do time for dealing dangerous drugs. Oh wait, they are the good sponsors to the Super Bowl and Presidential Innauguration. Wonder why,......well surely there's no connection to all the world's heroin coming out of Afghanistan and all the world's cocaine coming out of the Andes Mountains arriving to every hamlet in the U.S. and the government. There's no relationship to the burgeoning black market and the loss of manufacturing jobs. No relationship to the prison boom industry. Yes, conspiracies are so trite, and nothing better than to gut the Bill of Rights with than to have an endless drug war, since selective enforcement picks on no one's constituency.

Mexico, Texas or the Philippines? Is that because criminals are brown, Sid?

Send 'em elsewhere, huh? Let's give 'em an entire reservation and just drop occasional food rations from the sky. That would solve the state budget problem, eh?

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 06, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Wow!! You encompassed conspiracies, racism, and the plight of the Native American in your comment to my comment.  I am amazed.  The reason for my amazement is that I never mentioned conspiracies, race, or Native Americans.  You made assumptions. 

See; I don't care if a criminal is Native American, brown, black, white, or polka dotted.  I don't care about conspiracies, black helicopters, secret bunkers, or aliens from outer space.  I do care about the victims of crime; not the criminal.  They are in, and out, back in, and back out while the victim, or their family, trys to go back to their normal life.    

Local Yocal wrote on November 07, 2013 at 7:11 am
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Victims have never gotten a fair shake within the criminal justice system. While nothing can compensate for violence, it is strange that in the cases of theft, the victim is usually left out of the equation. While bonds are confiscated to pay for the defense attorney, pay the court its fines, and pay for the astronomical court costs, (over $500 now); restitution to victims is rarely made. All the substance abuse evaluations, and classes, the anger management classes, the probations per month are to be paid by the defendant out of pocket. No one talks about the criminal justice debt that remains outstanding owed by people who can't get a job after a felony conviction. The system does not work, nor is it designed to. It just absorbs more tax money than its results merit to incarcerate people who no one wants to employ. The victims are left to be angry and hurt. The convicted left to re-offend. A restorative justice model, as practiced in Brazil, offers real solutions where victim, community and offender are restored to wholeness. In America, the convenience society just dials 9-1-1 and demands a truck come pick up the garbage and take it away (if that is what is happening)- to the tune of over $60 million a year in Champaign County alone. (all police agencies + county costs) $60 million-a-year is dedicated toward about 8500 people in a county of over 200,000. And still the crime rate goes up and down without reason over the years. The only thing that remains steady are the increases in number of criminal cases, (doubled since the building of Satellite Jail) and the poverty rate went from 10% in 2000, to 24.5% in 2010. The system is designed to increase poverty and increase crime, not reduce it. Why mess with a good "business model?"

Wow, yourself Sid. You are always able to see corruption in State politics (since your pension is threatened by it) but always unable to see corruption within the criminal justice system (believing "crime" is always an act of violence with monsters and victims.) I'm beginning to weary of throwing any more pearls....

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 07, 2013 at 10:11 am
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That's because the corruption in the state directly impacts his life.

If he doesn't get every single pension dime and every single benefit that he wants (off the taxpayer's dime, of course), it's the world's biggest scandal.

The systematic predation of the criminal justice system upon its citizens, though?  Pssssshhh, black helicopters and yada yada yada.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 07, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Yep, I am against corruption.  Yes, I want every dime that I earned, and paid into my pension as a state employee, and as a taxpayer also.  The subject at hand though is "insanity" as a legal defense for criminal acts.

You can portray me how ever you choose.  I learned as a little boy about thieves.  Do not expect to get your property back.  Do not expect the thief to be arrested even if you can identify him.  Expect possible retaliation because you reported, and identified the thief.  You must defend yourself, and your property.  


Sid Saltfork wrote on November 08, 2013 at 8:11 am

Local...;   Save your pearls.  You will need them to keep your feet from touching the ground until you get to Brazil, or some other exotic, ideal destination.  Conspiracy theory is alive, and well...... as long as people want to believe.

My rant about corruption is based on observable acts committed over years.  It is personal.  I am starting to wonder if your stance on criminal justice is personal on your part, or your just another crusader talking about something that you have no first hand experience in.  Better keep your pearls, and put them somewhere safe.  

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 08, 2013 at 7:11 pm
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Nothing he has said in this thread is a conspiracy.   Just documented facts.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 08, 2013 at 8:11 pm

If you follow the issue, and read the admissions by those involved; it hardly is a conspiracy. 

What do you live off?  What is your means of support?  What taxes do you pay, or did pay; the alcohol tax, the tobacco tax, etc..?  Yeah, your a "taxpayer"  when you want your slice free off of someone else's earned money.  You do defend the criminal though... makes one wonder.  

alabaster jones 71 wrote on November 08, 2013 at 11:11 pm
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I have a job where I am paid by my employer.  No, I don't get an extravagant taxpayer-funded pension when I retire, but I'll get by.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 09, 2013 at 2:11 pm

"An extravagant taxpayer-funded pension"?  Public employees pay taxes just as you state you do.  The average public employee pension is far less than you want to make it.  The actual worker does not get the fat cat pension that the higher ups get.  The old "taxpayer" rant is phony.  I sincerly (no joke) hope that you can get by in your old age.  My employer did not pay their part of my pension.  I paid for it.  My employer spent the money on other things, and others.  Your private employer would have been in court years ago for doing the same thing.  Hang in there, alabaster.  You, too, will get old some day hopefully.

Local Yocal wrote on November 08, 2013 at 9:11 pm
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You always do this, Sid, whenever the blizzard of hard facts gets too overwhelming, you want to dismiss it as tin foil conspiracy or start getting personal. The information I provide could be gained from working in the circuit clerk's office, working as a lawyer, working as a prison guard, working in court services, working in social work, or working as a teacher. This stuff is widely known throughout the system, I'm just one of many handfuls beginning to talk about it. You did notice there were hearings this week in Washington D.C. discussing how to empty the federal prison system of non-violent drug offenders. Heck, the number of books and films I've given you to look at on this subject would allow anyone to "know" this system.

As for taxes, everyone pays taxes. If I eat out alot, (and I do) I pay more on food and beverage tax than you do. If I rent (and I do) the landlord passes his property tax down to me. If I smoke and drink, (not often) I pay a lot of taxes for that priviledge. Proportionally, my income goes toward taxes at a higher rate than you. But thanks to many people like me, you were able to have a life in the public sector paid with my taxes, and your pension is paid with my taxes. You think it's only homeowners that pay taxes. Those of us who work, rent, earn far less, and still buy stuff are taxed too.

And while we're getting personal, your comments appear to be from someone who once was a crime victim. Probably a black guy who did it, eh Sid? While you are brilliant at slicing through the nonsense of the university and statehouse, you have a consistent blind spot to issues of poverty, race, and crime. And with your latest comment, it appears you also harbor resentment toward anyone you suspect to be on social security or food stamps. Who knew, 'ol Sid was a hypocrite like the Tea Potty folks? Entitled to his pension, but everyone else's grandma needs to be kicked off her entitlement social security check. I will take back the pearls lest you muddy them any further. Enjoy your swill.

serf wrote on November 09, 2013 at 1:11 pm

You should try the high road every now and then.

Sid Saltfork wrote on November 09, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Ah serf, leave him alone.  I like his jumping to conclusions based on his assumptions, and delusions.  I only respond to him because he does not take the high road; and honestly he is one of the people who I do not take the high road with either.  Even if you agree with him on a topic, he will chew you out.  If you do not answer him, he will answer himself.   

I pray that I never get him as an attorney.  By the time he would get done with my defense, I would get Life for jaywalking. 

Local Yocal wrote on November 10, 2013 at 7:11 am
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Look at this thread, we were on the high road, until Sid took us down the low road. Perhaps I should have left Sid to his snide comments, which he does whenever this drug war issue comes up. Sid, you probably would get life for jaywalking because you always have to be right, and would likely sit in jail on a contempt of court charge. Did you ever thank Nice Davis for straightening you out about how much firemen make in Champaign? Or do you persist they make only $38,000?

I still enjoy Sid's commentary on politics, the state budgets, and university policies. That is always worth a read and The News-Gazette should give him a column- as long as he stays clear from his blind spot: the drug war.


Sid Saltfork wrote on November 10, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Come on, Local.  Tell me what your really think.  Dont' hold back.  :)