Defying a court order to take a mentally ill inmate to a state hospital for observation, a Kentucky police chief bought a one-way ticket to Florida for the man, sending him on a 28-hour bus ride, only to have the state extradite him back by saying he escaped.
According to investigation by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting, Carrollton Police Chief Michael Willhoite spent $18 of his own money to rid himself of 31-year-old Adam Horine, instead of following a judge’s order to send him to Eastern State Hospital in Lexington for a thorough psychiatric assessment.
Defending himself while appearing before Judge Elizabeth Chandler for threatening a cab driver and “cussing in public,” the itinerant Horine begged the court for help, claiming he was mentally ill and saying “things I shouldn’t say.”
Chandler ordered sheriff’s deputies to take Horine to the hospital, but he was first transported back to county jail where a social worker evaluated him, reporting that Horine was hearing voices, felt suicidal, couldn’t sleep, and wanted to hurt “certain people.”
Despite the judge’s order and the evaluation, Chief Wilhoite instructed officer Ron Dickow to drive Horine 50 miles in a police cruiser to Louisville where Dickow bought Horine a one-way bus ticket to Florida with money given to him by the chief.
“This just doesn’t happen. It’s not supposed to happen in our system,” said David Harris, professor of criminal law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. “And to have a police officer come in and simply say, ‘No, we’re not having him get a mental-health evaluation, you’re just getting out of here. You’re too much trouble. We don’t want you here. You’re leaving.’ I’m sorry, that’s not allowed. They don’t have the power to do that.”