Man who stabbed cop will be evaluated for release

2013-04-02T00:00:00Z 2013-04-02T06:17:19Z Man who stabbed cop will be evaluated for releaseBy ANNE JUNGEN | La Crosse Tribune

A schizophrenic La Crosse man again wants out of the state mental health institution where he has been committed for most of the time since stabbing a police officer in 2006.

Joseph Smith, 30, is petitioning for conditional release from Mendota Mental Health Institute in Madison for his sixth time.

Two doctors will evaluate Smith and discuss their findings during a hearing in La Crosse County Circuit Court at a later date.

A judge in 2006 committed Smith to state care for 46 years — the maximum allowed — after he was found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect of attempted first-degree intentional homicide.

Smith attacked officer Jon Wenger with a screwdriver while hallucinating during a traffic stop on the North Side. Another officer shot Smith twice.

Smith was released from Mendota in 2010 but was sent back after only four months when he continued to suffer from paranoia and auditory hallucinations about police officers.

His condition there deteriorated and doctors had to inject Smith with a sedative and anti-psychotic medication when he attacked and seriously injured a psychiatric care technician.

La Crosse County Judge Dale Pasell in August denied Smith conditional release, saying he wasn’t ready to be on his own in the community.

The judge said then that Smith could be a candidate for release in the future if he continues making progress in a minimum-security setting.

Smith, who could legally be held until 2052, can petition for release every six months.

Copyright 2015 La Crosse Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(5) Comments

  1. Mike Hammer
    Report Abuse
    Mike Hammer - April 02, 2013 11:33 am
    Compassion is a noble trait, but it must be coupled with understanding. Schizophrenia does not go away, and there is no legal nor practical means to enforce medication to someone that has been released. Mr. Smith may be perfectly lucid and appear to be ready for the streets and have a psychotic episode within days or weeks of his release. Another article in today's paper chronicles the lifetime incarceration of a sex offender caught viewing child pronography. No one (and rightly so) batted an eye when he was carted off to the grey bar hotel. Applying the same standard, the screwdriver-wielding Mr. Smith should likewise be isolated from society.
  2. FUBAR
    Report Abuse
    FUBAR - April 02, 2013 9:02 am
    Or the Govenor could just Pardon him. Everyone makes a mistake and shouldn't have to live the rest of their lives with a 'mistake" looming over them. After all he is just ill and it wasn't his fault and he didn't have a choice. Come on you big bully Walker, get er done.
  3. BobbyJ
    Report Abuse
    BobbyJ - April 02, 2013 9:01 am
    How long would he have been put in prison if he would have stabbed a cop and wasn't schizophrenic? In my opinion he should be in the mental hospital for at least that long because he still did do the crime mentally healthy or not.
  4. baywatch242012
    Report Abuse
    baywatch242012 - April 02, 2013 8:27 am
    I say just turn him loose. If an adult woman can end up with just probation from a La Crosse judge after stabbing a minor girl repeatedly in her face and breasts, then why not?

    (sarcasm turned on)
  5. Frodolino
    Report Abuse
    Frodolino - April 02, 2013 7:35 am
    First of all, he is a person with schizophrenia, and not a schizophrenic. Secondly, if access to appropriate mental health services and facilities would be available, we would not have got here, and he would have received the help he needed. Thirdly, not all people with schizophrenia are violent, in fact, just a small number of them. Injections of anti-psychotic medications is a pretty standard procedure and not an emergency procedure as described here. Give him the right treatment, and he can become a functioning member of society again. This is by no means condoning what this person did in his psychotic state. In fact, if he is prone to violence when non-compliant with medication, a controlled setting would be the best option for him
Add Comment
You must Login to comment.

Click here to get an account it's free and quick

Activate subscription button gif

Search local business directory

Hint: Enter a keyword that you are looking for like tires, pizza or doctors or browse the full business directory.

Follow The La Crosse Tribune


Latest Local Offers

Today's Question


How often do you swim during the summer?

View Results


Sign Up for Our Email Lists

Breaking News, News Update and Sports Update Headlines. Delivered at 11a.m. daily.

Sign up for Events, Contests and Promotions

Business report, local Business news. Delivered once per month.

New employment opportunities in the region.

Local homes for sale.

Cars, Trucks, Vans, SUVs, Motorcycles, ATVs, Boats, RV's & more

Featured Homes