FARMINGTON -- A man walking down the street sees a boy on a bicycle. He approaches the boy, pushes him off the bike and tries to leave with his new possession. Then police arrive and arrest the man, who is jailed and charged with robbery, a second-degree felony.
End of story, right?
Thanks to Davis County's mental health court, the story continues and will hopefully have a positive ending.
The man, in his late 20s, has a mental illness. He was in a delusional state when he saw the boy on the bike and truly believed it was the same bike stolen from him 20 years earlier.
This exact case came up in mental health court in 2nd District Court in Farmington shortly after the program came to life in November.
The mental health court exists to treat a select group of mentally ill people -- who have committed crimes -- differently from the way they would have been treated in the past.
"A person like him would just have been another number in the system," said Davis County District Attorney Troy Rawlings.
"Somebody like him doesn't belong in the state prison. He legitimately suffers from a serious mental illness. It's not malingering, and his history demonstrates that."
Being in mental health court does not mean this man, or other defendants in the program, will get off without punishment.
"There have been some rumors in the jail that if you can get into mental health court, you don't get jail time, you don't end up with a conviction on your record and things will be a lot easier for you," said public defender Julie George.
"That is not the case. They do go to jail in mental health court. There are consequences for doing what you're not supposed to, and jail is one of them."
The man who attempted to take the bicycle, like the other defendants in the mental health court, appears before Judge Glen R. Dawson at 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday to report on his progress.
"With mental health court, we are able to take a case like that, where it is clear that mental health deficiency was related to the crime, and we're able to help him," Dawson said.
Dawson, Rawlings and George are part of a team effort to make sure those in need get help so they will stop committing crimes, see their therapists regularly and take their prescribed medicine daily.
Rawlings said only 10 percent of those who were screened have been accepted.
Dawson said there are three mental illnesses that could qualify an individual for the mental health court: schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and schizoaffective disorder.
Dr. Todd Sutter, of Davis Behavioral Health Inc., also conducts an evaluation and makes an important recommendation to the court.
"He'll not only assess mental health, but determine if the crime was related to mental health," Dawson said. "You can have a mental illness and act out in a way where the crime is not related to the mental illness."
Because the mental health court has been active for only a little more than five months, it is too early to deem the program successful or unsuccessful, Rawlings said.
It is not clear if the defendants would have committed another crime in such a short time period.
"The people we have in the program right now are being successful," Rawlings said. "We're not having new crimes committed by the people who are in our program right now."
The man who was charged with taking the bicycle recently appeared in court wearing a shirt and tie. He talked with Dawson about living on his own and searching for a job.
One woman, who at first was convinced that everyone was out to kill her, now stands in front of Dawson without fearing for her life.
Another young woman gives George a hug each week after reporting to Dawson.
Rawlings' vision for the future involves full-time employees focusing specifically on mental health court, a full-time calendar and somewhere between 50 and 80 defendants.
"There are people who have a drug addiction that plays into their crime, and people who have financial issues that play into their crime, but as of yet, we haven't had something that specifically addresses mental health being the basis of the criminal act," George said.
The Davis County District Attorney's Office has applied for a $250,000 federal grant that would help provide resources and more staff, including a case manager who can help coordinate and run programs on a full-time basis.
"If we don't get our grant, we will continue on," Rawlings said.
"We'll expand it with the resources we can get from the county and state side. It's a slow process, but we're committed to it, and it will grow over time with or without the grant."