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United States v. Field

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

May 15, 2017




         This cause comes before the Court on Defendant's Motion to Revoke Order of Detention (Doc. 138), filed May 9, 2017, and the Government's Response in Opposition. (Doc. 140), filed May 15, 2017. Upon consideration of the pleadings and the transcript of the bond hearing, the Defendant's motion will be granted.

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         On October 9, 2013, Defendant, Michael Field, was charged in a one-count Indictment with possessing child pornography, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 2252A(a)(5)(B) and (b)(2). (Doc. 1). By November 11, 2013, the Magistrate Judge ordered a competency evaluation, having recognized Mr. Field's serious mental illness. (Doc. 16). Three months later, Mr. Field was found competent to stand trial. (Doc. 23). After several continuances to address his mental illness, Mr. Field pled guilty and this Court accepted his plea. (Doc. 72). In preparation for the sentencing hearing, counsel for both Mr. Field and the Government submitted detailed sentencing memoranda. (Docs. 83, 85, 96, 101). Shortly before the scheduled sentencing hearing, Mr. Field was again referred for a competency evaluation. (Docs. 93, 94, 99). Psychological evaluations by Dr. Robert Kennerley, Mr. Field's current treating mental health professional, and Dr. Eric Imhof, were also provided to the Court. (Sealed Doc. 103).

         B. The Sentencing Proceeding on the Indictment

         The sentencing proceeding was held on January 30, 2015. (Doc. 115). Dr. Imhof testified at length and provided a detailed analysis of Mr. Field's many and varied mental health issues. (Id.). Prior to the hearing, the Court closely reviewed voluminous medical records dating back to 2005. The testimony and documentary evidence unequivocally proved Mr. Field, as a child, had been the victim of repeated and traumatic sexual abuse over an extended period of time, not less than nine years, at the hands of a trusted relative. The trauma inflicted upon Mr. Field was so severe that it resulted in a lifelong struggle with Dissociative Identity Disorder (“DID”)-literally the splintering of his ego into no less than seven competing personalities. The harm endured as a child was compounded during his service in the Navy. This medical history was unchallenged, unquestionably accurate, and is manifested in psychiatric and psychological records which predate his arrest by at least eight years. Due to the extraordinarily unusual mental health history present in the instant case, this Court varied from the advisory guideline range, and imposed a sentence of time served, followed by a lifetime of supervised release. (Docs. 118, 120).

         C. Bond Hearing on Violation of Supervised Release

         Mr. Field appeared before Magistrate Judge Baker on April 28, 2017 for his initial appearance and bond hearing arising from violations of conditions of supervised release (positive urinalysis). (Doc. 123). Magistrate Judge Baker continued the detention hearing, and Mr. Field was restored to conditions of supervised release pending the issuance of a new hearing date. (Doc. 123). The minutes of the April 28th hearing reflect the Government represented to the Court that Mr. Field posed a danger to himself, due to his positive urinalysis, more than being a flight risk. (Id.). The bond hearing was scheduled for May 5, 2017. (Docs. 130, 131).

         The bond hearing was conducted by Magistrate Judge Kelly. (Doc. 133). At the hearing, the Court received a letter from Dr. Kennerley-Mr. Field's mental health counselor, (Doc. 134)-and the Court heard from Mr. Field's daughter, Tabitha Field, and Probation Officer Bryce Hartgrave. (Doc. 136). Counsel for Mr. Field voiced concern that Mr. Field, who currently resides in an adult facility for sex offenders, could lose his placement and be rendered homeless by imposing a period of pre-hearing detention. (Doc. 136, p. 3). The supervising probation officer, Mr. Hartgrave, was then permitted to proffer to Magistrate Judge Kelly an overview of his supervision activities.

         Mr. Hartgrave explained to the Court that Mr. Field has dissociative identity disorder and has seven personalities. (Id. at p. 4). For the majority of 2016, Mr. Hartgrave has been dealing with the major personality-or alter-known as Tristin. (Id.). The difficulty in supervising Mr. Field in terms of the recent onset of his drug usage is directly related to his dissociative identity disorder. That is, if Mr. Field's personality, as opposed to his alter, is present during a substance abuse treatment session, he will not have any idea why he is at the meeting. (Id.). This is because Mr. Field is not using illegal drugs; rather, the personality Tristin is the one who is using drugs. (Id.).

         The Court is aware that Tristin is the identity that appeared following years of sexual abuse by Mr. Field's family member.[1] At the sentencing hearing, the medical records clearly corroborated that this identity was created, along with several other identities, following the abuse.[2] Mr. Hartgrave went on to explained at the bond hearing that Mr. Field's treating psychologist, Dr. Kennerley, is working on uniting the seven different personalities.[3] (Id. at pp. 4-5). Due to these factors, Mr. Hartgrave stated “I'm not asking for detention on him because the only stable factor in his life is his residence. If we detain him for any period of time and he's released, say, at sentencing, we're going to have a homeless sex offender with possible drug issues.”[4] (Id. at p. 5). Counsel for the Government agreed, stating “I don't think incarceration, given the situation that he's dealing with or his mental health issues, is the best option unless there's no other way because he continues to use controlled substances.” (Id. at p. 9).

         A presumptive drug test administered the day of the bond hearing resulted in a positive test result for methamphetamines and amphetamines. (Id. at p. 10). By way of additional background, Mr. Field first tested positive for marijuana in June of 2016, after having been on supervised release without incident for 18 months. (Id. at pp. 5, 8-9).

         Ms. Tabitha Field, Mr. Field's twenty-two-year-old daughter, testified that she is willing to serve as a third-party custodian. (Id. at pp. 14-15). Ms. Field is a responsible adult who is gainfully employed and lacks any criminal history. (Id. at pp. 14, 18). Mr. Field's former wife continues to be supportive and provides him a monthly allowance for expenses. (Id. at p. 18). The Court confirmed that Ms. Field understood the responsibilities of a third-party custodian, including the duty to report violations of conditions of supervised release to the Court. (Id. at p. 19).

         Probation Officer Hartgrave testified next; he has been supervising Mr. Field since January 2016. (Id. at p. 22). Mr. Hartgrave related the history of positive urinalysis beginning in June 2016, and explained that during the past year he has been dealing with the alter Tristin, as opposed to Mr. Field. (Id. at pp. 22-23). Mr. Hartgrave stated that “Tristin had explained to me that she had a prescription for Adderall or I believe it was Ritalin earlier one. And she had heard from somebody that methamphetamine was similar to those substances. And that's why she was curious to take it.” (Id. at p. 23).

         The Government established that the alter, Tristin, was driving from New Smyrna Beach to Daytona Beach to purchase the drugs. (Id. at p. 24). Mr. Hartgrave has been attempting to address Mr. Field's substance abuse, but treatment is complicated by Mr. Field's mental health issues. (Id. at p. 25). Mr. Hartgrave explained:

When Michael [Field] is present-or before the last few months, when Michael is present, the other personalities are not present. When Tristin is present, the other personalities- it's Annie, Nicole, Megan, Bailey, Tristin and I believe Robert is the other male-they are all present.
So what Dr. Kennerley has been trying to do is get Michael to meet Tristin and the other personalities. He's been addressing some substance abuse issues with him. However, it's difficult because of the severity of the mental health issues.


         The manner by which the multiple personalities complicate substance abuse treatment is evidenced by the following testimony:

My last encounter with him [Mr. Field] in March over the methamphetamine drug use was very interesting. The day before I had talked to, I believe, Michael on the phone. He was at the V.A. Clinic.
And Michael had told me that he had slipped up and he let us down, meaning he let me and himself down . . . . So I asked him to be home the next night. It was a Friday night. And I asked to stop by and talk to him. When I ...

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