Assault Prozac* 2009-10-24 Kansas *Man Found Not Guilty of Assault Using Prozac Defense
Summary:

Paragraphs nine through twelve read:  "However, he testified he believed high dosages of Prozac, an anti-depressant prescribed to him at the prison and jail, influenced his behavior."

"It made him feel like he wanted jump out of his skin, he said. Housworth told jurors he never intended to hurt anyone."

"During the time he's spent in youth shelters, jails and prisons, Housworth said he had nothing but "minor write-ups" until he began taking Prozac in 40-milligram to 90-milligram dosages at the local prison and jail."

"He said he never stopped taking the drug because he was 70 days shy of parole in June 2007, and then he signed a parole agreement specifying he would take his prescribed medications."

Paragraphs fourteen and fifteen read:  "Dr. Mark Goodman, a local clinical psychologist who evaluated Housworth, testified for the defense he believed the high dosage of Prozac prescribed to Housworth at the prison and jail caused his aggressive behavior."

"Goodman said the recommended Prozac dosage for an adult was 20 to 80 milligrams, and he believed the high dosages given to Housworth, combined with Housworth's "bipolar features" and "anger history," rendered him unable to reason appropriately."


http://www.hutchnews.com/Todaystop/trial2009-10-23T20-32-29


Saturday, October 24, 2009    4 : 14 PM

Meds defense a success

Former prisoner acquitted in batteries he blames on Prozac.

By Darcy Gray The Hutchinson News dgray@hutchnews.com
A former Hutchinson Correctional Facility inmate charged with battering correctional officers and another inmate told jurors this week "Prozac mania," from high dosages of the prescribed drug, caused his aggressive, impulsive behavior.

The jurors agreed.

Andrew Housworth, 31, was found not guilty Friday of five counts of battery against a correctional officer and two counts of aggravated battery of a correctional officer and a fellow inmate.

During his trial this week before Reno County District Judge Tim Chambers, Housworth admitted to spitting on correctional officers at the prison and the Reno County jail in 2007.

He admitted to attacking a fellow inmate at the Reno County jail in April 2008, hitting him and biting his cheek.

Although Housworth was charged with aggravated battery of an HCF officer in September 2007 for allegedly choking the officer with his belly chain, or restraint, he denied choking the officer. He told jurors he was first "clotheslined" and pepper-sprayed by the officer before responding in self-defense.

His attorney, Alice Osburn, noted there was time missing from the prison surveillance video during the incident, in which Housworth claimed he had been beaten.

Housworth also admitted during trial his criminal history included aggravated assault, criminal threat and attempted robbery.

However, he testified he believed high dosages of Prozac, an anti-depressant prescribed to him at the prison and jail, influenced his behavior.

It made him feel like he wanted jump out of his skin, he said. Housworth told jurors he never intended to hurt anyone.

During the time he's spent in youth shelters, jails and prisons, Housworth said he had nothing but "minor write-ups" until he began taking Prozac in 40-milligram to 90-milligram dosages at the local prison and jail.

He said he never stopped taking the drug because he was 70 days shy of parole in June 2007, and then he signed a parole agreement specifying he would take his prescribed medications.

Housworth said his concerns about Prozac's effects on him were ignored by local prison and jail staff. After an incident in which he punched Reno County Jail Capt. Scott Powell in September 2008, Housworth said, he was transferred to Lyons County jail, where they took him off Prozac in March and he had not had a problem with officers since.

Dr. Mark Goodman, a local clinical psychologist who evaluated Housworth, testified for the defense he believed the high dosage of Prozac prescribed to Housworth at the prison and jail caused his aggressive behavior.

Goodman said the recommended Prozac dosage for an adult was 20 to 80 milligrams, and he believed the high dosages given to Housworth, combined with Housworth's "bipolar features" and "anger history," rendered him unable to reason appropriately.

A doctor at the Larned State Hospital, however, testified for the prosecution that Housworth had an anti-social personality and did not lack the mental state necessary to commit the crimes.

Jurors were asked, regarding each charge, whether they believed Housworth suffered a mental deficiency due to high dosages of Prozac that "rendered him incapable" of criminal intent, or intending to commit the crimes.

As the verdict was announced Friday, jurors announced "yes," they believed he suffered from the mental deficiency as to all charges except for the aggravated battery charge in which Housworth was accused of choking the prison officer.

Friday's verdict represents the first time since 2003 such a defense has been successful in winning an acquittal.

In 2003, Dale McCormick, of Sylvia, was acquitted after a jury decided his alleged bomb threat at the Reno County Law Enforcement Center was the result of mental defect, brought on by depression and a dosage change in McCormick's mood stabilizer.

In Housworth's case, the jury foreperson told The News jurors discussed at length all evidence in the case, including the doctors' contradicting opinions. Jurors requested a read-back of witness testimony Thursday night, so they took a break and continued deliberating Friday morning.

Jurors felt Housworth was open and honest in talking about what had happened, as well as his criminal history, she said. Housworth was willing to talk about the incident with Powell, even though it was not charged against him.

Following the verdict, Chambers ordered Housworth be committed to the Larned State Hospital until he is no longer a danger.

Osburn confirmed Housworth is also facing charges in Leavenworth County for battery of a correctional officer.