Cleveland history behind TJ Lane's insanity plea

Cleveland history behind TJ Lane's insanity plea

The teen who admitted to killing three students and injuring three others inside Chardon High school pleads not guilty by reason of insanity. What happens if he wins the case and then is declared sane. Could he be let go?  It's happened before.

In 1979 Michael Levine and another man kidnapped supermarket boss Julius Kravitz and his wife. They demanded $1.5 million in ransom. However, for some reason Levine fired a gun on Old Mill Road in Gates Mills, killing Kravitz and wounding Kravitz' wife.

Levine's attorneys said he was crazy and like TJ Lane's lawyers entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. At trial his psychiatrists said he was insane, the county's said he was sane.  Judge John Angelotta ruled him insane and not guilty.  He was sent to a state hospital, where treatment not punishment is the mission.

Within a few years Levine began asking to be released because he was cured.  The hospital agreed. He was brought back to Cuyahoga County for a release hearing every two years.

"He should not be released at anytime in the foreseeable future," said former Attorney General, Lee Fisher.

Every two years there was a successful effort to keep him locked up.  But, in 1993 he was released and ordered not to live in Cleveland.  But was back in court after he was seen partying in the Flats.  That set off a public outcry.  The outcry, along with Mrs. Kravitz' efforts won a change in the law.

"The law changed and the jurisdiction was returned back to the trial court," said Henry Hilow, former prosecutor.

Hilow who fought to keep Levine locked up says in criminal court punishment not just a cure can be monitored better than in civil court.

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