River Forest terror suspect ruled unfit for trial
Updated: November 28, 2012 4:26PM
CHICAGO — A federal judge has found River Forest resident and accused domestic terrorist suspect Ronald Haddad, Jr. mentally unfit to stand trial.
Judge Virginia Kendall ruled Nov. 16 that Haddad is to be involuntarily hospitalized to allow for additional psychological testing to assess his mental condition and his ability to work with his lawyer to prepare for trial.
“(T)he court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that, pursuant to (federal law) Mr. Haddad is unable to assist properly in his own criminal defense,” Kendall ruled.
Haddad, represented by his fourth attorney after firing the first three, has waged an insistent battle against what he perceives as a biased and corrupt system that is denying him his legal rights.
Kendall noted that while Haddad has worked with his defense counsel “for short periods of time, he has regularly accused his previous three attorneys of conspiring with the U.S. Attorney’s office, the FBI and others to silence him and ensure his conviction.”
This is at least the fifth time Haddad’s mental competency has been assessed by a psychiatrist. As early as January 2010, Haddad was described by mental health experts as suffering from a disorder that “impairs his ability to rationally interpret events and phenomena in his life.”
“Each diagnosed defendant as suffering from a delusional disorder characterized by both persecutory and grandiose delusions,” Kendall said.
Haddad’s disorder, Kendall noted, becomes more pronounced under stress. That, she concluded, “will not allow him to properly assist in his own defense during the stress of a federal criminal trial.”
Kendall ordered Haddad committed for no more than four months. As part of his treatment, he may be forced to take anti-psychotic medication, something he has steadfastly refused to take, even as a condition of being free on bond.
After being incarcerated in May 2010 after violating the terms of his home arrest bond, Haddad was found competent at a December 2011 competency hearing and was ordered released again on bond.
However, in March, Haddad was ordered re-incarcerated after he refused to take medication required as part of his bond, then spit at his lawyer in open court.
Kendall set a Feb. 1 hearing for a progress report on Haddad’s treatment status.
Haddad was arrested by federal agents on Feb. 9, 2009 a day after the FBI, federal and local police raided his parent’s Park Avenue home and carted out boxes of evidence.
In April 2010, a second indictment charged him with sending 28 threatening letters to various state, county and local officials, and two counts of sending threatening emails.
According to court filings, Haddad, who has unsuccessfully sued River Forest and Oak Park police multiple times, also suggested attacking local officials. Those threats were included in two long, rambling emails sent the afternoon of Jan. 26, 2009.
In them, Haddad refers to “ this nice little to do list,” and included the names and addresses of local officials, including then River Forest Village President Frank Paris, Oak Park Village President David Pope and then Oak Park Village Manager Tom Barwin. He also named active duty River Forest police officers and listed their addresses.