A judge said Friday he would find Larned State Hospital officials in contempt for not turning over records of the man charged with the murder of a Kansas City, Kan., police captain.
Wyandotte County District Judge Wes Griffin said the hospital has not responded to repeated requests for records it has on Jamaal Lewis, who is charged with capital murder in the July 2016 killing of Capt. Robert David Melton.
Griffin said other mental health experts need the records to determine whether Lewis is competent to stand trial. The judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys have all requested the records from the state hospital.
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“Unfortunately, and in my opinion ridiculously, those requests have not been met,” the judge said.
Griffin said he was reluctant to enter a contempt of court order and would wait until Monday to send the notice.
“I don’t know what else to do,” Griffin said.
Lewis has undergone several evaluations to determine whether he is competent to stand trial, including one at Larned and another by an independent expert for the defense. None of the evaluation results have been made public.
Defense attorney Jeff Dazey said Friday that a defense expert has prepared a report, but he needed the requested records to complete it. Prosecutors have also retained their own expert to evaluate Lewis, according to Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Tatum.
Lewis, 21, faces a potential death sentence if convicted in the killing of Melton. Wyandotte County prosecutors have not said if they will seek the death penalty.
Melton was killed on July 19, 2016, while attempting to stop a suspect in an earlier drive-by shooting.
Later on Friday, the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services, which oversees the psychiatric hospital, said it was working to resolve the records problem.
“Larned State Hospital has complied with the two subpoenas regarding this case received from the Wyandotte County District Attorney,” spokeswoman Angela de Rocha said in a statement. “(The agency’s) central office legal staff is working with the district court, the district attorney’s office and defense counsel to ensure that all outstanding requests have been answered.”
Earlier this week, The Star reported that employees at the hospital received a memo instructing them that they needed permission from the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services before speaking to Kansas legislators. The restriction likely violated a state law that protects whistleblowers, according to the union that represents state workers. That policy has now been dropped, de Rocha said.
Includes reporting by The Star’s Glenn Rice and Bryan Lowry.