WAILUKU - A 2nd Circuit Court judge ordered doctors Wednesday to give psychiatric medication to a Maui man, against his will, while he remains hospitalized at the Hawaii State Hospital in Kaneohe.
Last April, Adam Mendoza, 23, of Makawao was acquitted by reason of insanity of the random and unprovoked stabbing of a man in a Queen Ka'ahumanu Center restroom two years ago. Mendoza has been diagnosed as suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, aggravated by alcohol and marijuana use.
In a videoconference call Wednesday in the courtroom of Judge Rhonda Loo, Mendoza repeatedly objected to the proceedings, asking to be physically present in court and not at the Oahu psychiatric facility.
Often interrupting and speaking rapidly and loudly, Mendoza said the videoconference arrangement was "hard to hear" and "really fuzzy."
"I'd like to be present for my court day," he said.
Loo asked Dr. Aubrey Chambers, who was present with Mendoza on Oahu and qualified as an expert in psychiatry, if he could see and hear the proceedings. He said he could, but that there had been some earlier interruption of the Internet connection.
Although Mendoza persisted in maintaining that he could not hear or fully participate in the proceedings, Loo pointed out that he was able to answer questions and argue points with the judge.
Mendoza also tried to fire his defense attorney, Deputy Public Defender William "Pili" McGrath.
Deputy Prosecutor Mark Simonds objected to Mendoza's request, saying that McGrath had ardently defended his client and was acting in his best interests. He said Mendoza was a danger to the safety of himself and others.
Mendoza said McGrath wasn't representing him well, not gathering evidence or other background information.
"He's been failing me this whole time," he said.
Loo denied Mendoza's request.
As Mendoza tried to argue further, the judge said, "Pay attention. Be quiet."
She told him the law allows a videoconference.
Chambers said Mendoza was refusing to take anti-psychotic medications, had shown dangerous behavior and had attempted to escape from the Kaneohe facility on Dec. 22.
"He attempted to knock down a psychiatric technician who was opening a door outside," Chambers testified, adding that Mendoza tried to take an entry badge that would have enabled him to get outside the facility.
"He has a history of being aggressive toward other individuals," he said, referring to Mendoza's May 20, 2011, attack on 21-year-old Timothy Heauser-Caires of Makawao.
Mendoza stabbed the victim in the second-floor bathroom near Macy's at the shopping center. Heauser-Caires suffered a collapsed lung and was hospitalized for 13 days to recover from his injuries.
Chambers said Mendoza's psychiatric condition had been aggravated by alcohol and marijuana use. He said Mendoza has not been cooperating with his treatment and posed a danger if unmedicated.
Mendoza has been isolated from other patients because he has been banging on walls, the doctor said, although the verbal outbursts that occurred during the court proceeding were unusual.
Chambers testified that he would prescribe medically appropriate medication for Mendoza's paranoid schizophrenia, and hospital staff members would monitor him continuously to watch for any ill side effects from the drugs.
Loo ordered Mendoza to be medicated against his will for a year, and she set a status hearing in four months to check on his condition.
* Brian Perry can be reached at email@example.com.