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"Closure for Leonard, and the rest of us"

"Just when we thought his case couldn't get any weirder or more Kafka-esque, Ralph Leonard now finds himself in the county jail and the state mental hospital - at the same time.On March 13, the state Department of Social and Health Services notified Bainbridge Police by letter that Leonard had been given yet another six-month term at Western State Hospital, where he'd resided since being found incompentent to stand trial for allegedly firing a shotgun at a local officer. Turns out that on March 12, Leonard was moved to the Kitsap County Jail, having been deemed competent to participate in his own defense. And there he sits.The state of being in two places at once - we suppose it was a paperwork snafu, but have little hope of finding out - is a fitting illustration of the vagaries of the civil commitment process in which Leonard, a former Eagle Harbor liveaboard, has been ensnared for the past two years. An earlier attempt to give him his day in court found Leonard's mental state at once too precarious for trial, but too steady for commitment and treatment - so he was let go, until being re-arrested and sent through the process again.Even this week, the commitment process, shielded as it is from public view by state statute, leaves us with no idea why Leonard was suddenly deemed of sufficiently sound mind for trial. His attorney, somewhat cynically, suspects they just needed more room at Western State. One thing is certain - the merry-go-round of six-month commitments that Leonard has been riding resolves nothing. This case needs some closure, for the Bainbridge community and for Leonard himself, and we're glad Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge's office is carrying the ball. Let's get it to trial this time. On the airAnd for you early risers, this just in from Washington D.C.:Bainbridge Island resident and U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee has been selected to deliver the Democratic radio response to the president's weekly radio address at 8:06 a.m. Pacific time. today, April 7. Inslee will discuss the Democratic response to the region's energy crisis - and, not coincidentally, make a plug for his own legislation to establish cost-based energy rates. The congressman will be joined by Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM).If the Bush Administration will not act to enforce reasonable prices, then Congress must, Inslee said in a prepared release sent via email. But first, the Bush agenda: the president's address begins at 7:06 a.m. (our time) on the local National Public Radio station and elsewhere; Inslee will deliver the Democratic volley an hour later. The speeches can also be heard on television, through C-SPAN. "

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