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Troubled Colorado state mental hospital can’t keep up with inmate competency evaluations

The state mental hospital cannot keep up with an unexpected surge in court-ordered competency evaluations for accused criminals, the Colorado Department of Human Services said Thursday in asking for relief from a long-standing lawsuit. The department filed to invoke special circumstances in a case lodged against the state by Disability Law Colorado. State officials informed the advocacy group in a letter Thursday that the mental hospital cannot hold up its end of the settlement agreement, which requires jail inmates to receive mental health evaluations or treatment within 28 days of receiving paperwork from a judge. The action means inmates whose mental competency is in question could sit longer behind bars as they await evaluation.

These inmates are presumed innocent, being held in pretrial status, probably receiving little if any mental health care, said Mark Ivandick, managing attorney for Disability Law Colorado, which first sued the state over the issue in 2012 and revived the case in 2016 when there was a backlog of 100 inmates not receiving timely evaluations. They are just relegated to languishing in jail before they get admitted.

The problem, said human services Chief Medical Officer Patrick Fox, is a major increase in court orders for mental health competency exams from judges across Colorado, particularly in the last two months. Competency evaluation orders were up 44 percent in May compared with May 2016. And orders for restoration treatment with the aim of restoring a defendant s mental health in order to face charges were up 89 percent compared with a year ago.

We are basically grabbing the oxygen mask right now and saying, We need relief, Fox said. It s straining our resources beyond the point of being able to manage it presently. The recent spike is the latest in a 15-year struggle to keep up with mental health evaluations and treatment for inmates in Colorado and across the country. In 2000, the state mental health institute performed 429 competency evaluations and 87 restorations. Compare that with 1,871 competency exams last year and 671 restorations, an increase of 336 percent and 671 percent. The rise has been attributed by experts to a greater awareness among judges about the impact of mental health on defendants, as well as laws that critics say criminalize mental illness. Defendants awaiting competency or needing restoration have been charged with anything from misdemeanor trespassing to capital murder.

The safety-valve provision in the settlement temporarily suspends the time-frame requirements until December. Fox said the department will not consider the action a timeout or a relaxation of its efforts to promptly evaluate inmates for mental health issues. Rather, the state mental health system will perform evaluations and begin restoration treatment as soon as we can with our current resources and constraints, he said. State officials plan to meet soon with Disability Law Colorado to discuss the department s filing.

A compromise reached in 2012 required the department to complete in-jail evaluations within 30 days, or admit people to the state hospital for in-patient evaluations within 28 days. It also required that if defendants were found incompetent to face criminal charges, the hospital or an in-jail treatment program must admit them within 28 days. The state was required in 2016 to hire an independent consultant[1] to track how quickly it completes mental competency evaluations. Documents filed in the case last year revealed a 2015 memo directing department staff[2] to admit only one person per day at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo. That order led to a backlog of an estimated 100 inmates, Disability Law said. The department s request for relief from the settlement requirements is not related to staffing issues at the Pueblo mental hospital[3], state officials said. The 449-bed hospital was recently placed on a termination track by federal authorities critical of nursing staff levels.

The evaluations are conducted by therapists with the state Office of Behavioral Health, part of the human services department.


  1. ^ to hire an independent consultant (
  2. ^ memo directing department staff (
  3. ^ staffing issues at the Pueblo mental hospital (

Flint airport stabbing suspect tried to buy gun in Mt. Clemens before attack

Flint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before AttackFlint Airport Stabbing Suspect Tried To Buy Gun In Mt. Clemens Before Attack

DETROIT (WJBK) – Amor Ftouhi, the Canadian accused of stabbing an airport security officer in Flint, tried to buy a gun at the Gibraltar Trade Center in Mt. Clemens shortly after arriving in the U.S. on Friday, FOX 2 has learned.

The FBI said that Ftouhi entered the country legally last week through Lake Champlain in Upstate New York. The Quebec resident then made his way to Michigan, where FOX 2 learned he visited the Gibraltar Trade Center and tried unsuccessfully to buy a gun.

Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi[1]

The Gibralter Trade Center is a massive indoor marketplace where guns and knives are among the many items for sale by vendors who rent space. The last show was this weekend and it’s not clear whether Ftouhi visited the trade center on Saturday or Sunday. He reportedly told the FBI that after his attempt to buy a gun failed he bought the knife he used to stab Lt. Jeff Neville at Bishop International Airport in Flint on Wednesday morning. During a press conference on Thursday, the FBI confirmed that Ftouhi tried to buy a gun in the U.S. but would not say where he tried to purchase the weapon.

Ftouhi was rejected early in the process because he is not a U.S. citizen. FBI agent Thomas Sondgeroth wrote in a criminal complaint filed against Ftouhi in federal court that Ftouhi used an “Amazon Jungle Survival Knife” to stab Neville.

Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack[2]

After interviewing a law enforcement officer who witnessed the attack and an FBI agent who reviewed surveillance video, Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi entered the airport around 8:50 a.m. carrying two bags, went to a second-floor restaurant around 9:10 a.m., left the restaurant about 30 minutes later and entered a restroom, where he left his bags. Less than a minute later, he emerged yelling “Allahu Akbar,” and stabbing Neville, Sondgeroth’s report said. Sondgeroth wrote that Ftouhi “continued to yell ‘Allah’ several times. He further exclaimed something similar to ‘you have killed people in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, and we are all going to die.’ “

Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill[3]

After officers subdued Ftouhi, he asked them why they did not kill him.

Neville survived the attack and Ftouhi was charged with violence at an international airport. He is in federal custody and faces a detention hearing Wednesday.

Contact M.L. Elrick at [4] or 248-552-5261.


  1. ^ Terror suspect who stabbed Flint airport officer ID’d as Canadian Amor Ftouhi (
  2. ^ Flint airport officer’s condition improves after stabbing attack (
  3. ^ Dearborn Islamic community leader on Flint attack: devout Muslims don’t kill (
  4. ^

Arlington National Cemetery Fast Facts

CNN Library

(CNN) — Here’s a look at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. Facts:
Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in Arlington, Virginia, contains the remains of more than 400,000 people from the United States and 11 other countries, buried there since the 1860s. More than three million people visit the cemetery annually.

The Arlington estate was originally owned by George Washington Parke Custis, adopted grandson of George Washington. His daughter Mary Anna Randolph Custis, who married Robert E. Lee, inherited the estate. It was abandoned by the Lees during the Civil War and used as headquarters for the Union army. Arlington House (also known as Custis-Lee Mansion) is currently a memorial for Robert E. Lee and run by the National Park Service. Arlington National Cemetery is administered by the Department of the Army.

Nearly 5,000 unknown soldiers are buried at Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery has the second-largest number of people buried of any national cemetery in the US. Calverton National Cemetery, on Long Island, near Farmingdale, New York, is the largest. Burial in Arlington is generally limited to active, retired and former members of the armed forces, Medal of Honor recipients, high-ranking federal government officials and their dependents.

Funerals are normally conducted six days a week, Monday through Saturday. Arlington averages 27 to 30 funerals, including interments and inurnments, each weekday, and six to eight services on Saturdays. The flags in Arlington National Cemetery are flown at half-staff from a half hour before the first funeral until a half hour after the last funeral each day. The partial remains of the seven astronauts who died aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger on January 28, 1986, are buried at the cemetery.

The seven Columbia astronauts have their own memorial at Arlington, near the one for the Challenger. As a living tribute, there are 36 Memorial Trees for Medal of Honor recipients. Annually, just prior to Memorial Day weekend, the 3rd US Infantry (The Old Guard) places American flags before the gravestones and niches of service members buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the US Soldier’s and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery.

The cemetery has armed guards stationed throughout the grounds. Visitors to the cemetery are required to enter through one of four access points: the cemetery’s main entrance on Memorial Avenue, the Ord & Weitzel Gate, the Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Old Post Chapel Gate, and the Service Complex Gate off of Colombia Pike. Visitors undergo security screenings and random ID checks.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier:
The Tomb of the Unknowns (aka Tomb of the Unknown Soldier) has never been officially named. It is a memorial to the dead of World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. The Tomb is made from Yule marble quarried in Colorado. It consists of seven pieces, with a total weight of 79 tons. The Tomb was completed in 1932, at a cost of $48,000. The tomb has the following words inscribed: Here rests in honored glory An American Soldier Known but to God.

The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, everyday of the year, by volunteer members of the 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), in full dress uniform carrying M-14 rifles. Timeline:
May 13, 1864 – The first military burial takes place at Arlington Estate. Pvt. William H. Christman of the 67th Pennsylvania Infantry is buried. June 15, 1864 – Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs designates Arlington House and its surrounding 200 acres as a Union military cemetery.

1882 – George Washington Custis Lee sues the government for taking over the land. The US Supreme Court rules that the federal government was trespassing.

March 3, 1883 – Congress purchases the land for $150,000. May 15, 1920 – Memorial Amphitheater is dedicated.

1921 – The Tomb of the Unknowns is established for an unknown soldier of World War I. April 6, 1948 – The 3rd US Infantry begins guarding the Tomb of the Unknowns 24 hours a day.

May 14, 1998 – Through DNA testing, the Vietnam era Unknown Soldier’s identity is established as Air Force 1st Lt. Michael Joseph Blassie who died near An Loc, Vietnam, in 1972. His remains are returned to his family and this particular crypt remains empty.

2002 – Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs), now recognized as “active duty designees,” can now have their ashes buried at the cemetery with full military honors. November 13, 2009 – Secretary of the Army John McHugh orders the inspector general to conduct an inspection of the record keeping operations in the cemetery. June 2010 – The Army’s investigation reveals missing burial records, unmarked graves and burial urns put in a spillage pile, where dirt dug up for gravesites is left. Longtime Superintendent John C. Metzler is reprimanded. He is able to keep his job until his retirement date of July 2, 2010.

July 14, 2010 – The cemetery announces that Thurman Higginbotham, second-in-command at Arlington, filed paperwork in the previous week to retire retroactive to July 2, 2010. He had been placed on administrative leave in June pending disciplinary review for improper handling of burial records, and was accused of botching dozens of contracts. July 29, 2010 – Senator Claire McCaskill, chairwoman of an oversight panel on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Reform Committee, says that her investigation of the cemetery has revealed that between 4,900 and 6,600 graves may be unmarked or mislabeled on cemetery maps. December 2010 – The Army launches the first criminal investigation into the misplacement of remains at Arlington National Cemetery after discovering the cremated remains of eight people dumped in a single grave site.

December 22, 2010 – President Barack Obama signs into law bill S. 3860, which will hold the Secretary of the Army accountable to Congress on Arlington National Cemetery’s ability to identify and fix errors in the burial records for gravesites. December 23, 2011 – According to the Army Inspector General’s report, of the 259,978 graves audited, 195,748 were checked. The consequences are that in 64,230 cases, the information on the headstones is incorrect when compared to the paper or electronic records. January 25, 2012-January 26, 2012 – Following a congressional hearing regarding contracting oversight, a Homeland Security & Government Affairs subcommittee investigates a media report of $12 million dollars in funds missing from the ANC. The following day, the subcommittee states that the ANC is not missing the funds, as has been reported. The “reconciliation of prior year financial transactions” and a switch to a new Army business system are the reasons for the lack of transparency.

January 26, 2012 – Former Marine Corps reservist Yonathan Melaku is sentenced to 25 years in prison for attempting to desecrate graves at the cemetery.

2012 – Arlington seeks designation as a historic district on the National Register. The entire process takes up to a year. April 11, 2014 – The National Park Service lists the Arlington National Cemetery Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places. June 15, 2014 – The 150th anniversary of the cemetery.

July 17, 2014 – Philanthropist and billionaire David M. Rubenstein donates $12.35 million to the National Park Foundation to improve access to Arlington House and restore the slave quarters and grounds.

2015 – McHugh reverses the 2002 policy that previously permitted the ashes of women who served as pilots during World War II, in the WASP program, to be buried at the cemetery with full military honors. May 20, 2016 – President Obama signs a bill into law once again allowing the ashes of WW II WASPs to be laid to rest at the military cemetery. Buried at Arlington:
President William Howard Taft
President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis
Senators and brothers Robert F. Kennedy and Edward M. Kennedy
Chief Justices Earl Warren, Warren Burger and William Rehnquist
General George C. Marshall
Margariette Higgins, Pulitzer Prize-winning war correspondent
Dashiell Hammett, author and veteran of both World War I and II
Spotswood Poles, baseball player in the Negro Leagues
Audie Murphy, actor and most decorated US soldier of World War II
Glenn Miller, noted composer and big band leader, has a headstone as his body was never recovered after a plane crash in World War II
James Parks, a former Arlington Estate slave and gravedigger, he is the only person buried in Arlington National Cemetery who was born on the property
Anita Newcomb McGee, the first female Army surgeon and founder of the Army Nurse Corps
Walter Reed, pioneering bacteriologist
Astronauts Lt. Col. Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee, killed at Cape Canaveral, Florida in a fire aboard their Apollo spacecraft. They are buried next to one another
Sgt. Mark Matthews, the oldest living of the Buffalo Soldiers, 111 years old in 2005
Medgar Evers, murdered civil rights leader
Thurgood Marshall, first African-American Supreme Couwt justice
Joe Louis, former boxing heavyweight champion of the world
Lee Marvin, actor and World War II veteran
Pierre Charles L’Enfant, architect and designer of the city of Washington
John Glenn, former senator and astronaut

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