A Southern California judge on Friday rejected the request of Louise Turpin to be considered for mental health diversion program.
Turpin has been charged with 12 counts of false imprisonment, 12 counts of torture, eight counts of child abuse, seven counts of cruelty to a dependent adult, and one count of assault, which are all felonies that stemmed from how Turpin and her husband David treated their 13 children.
David faces eight perjury charges and one count of lewd acts on a child below 14-years-old. Both have pleaded not guilty to these charges.
The couple was first arrested on January 15. A day before that, their 17-year-old daughter escaped their residence in Perris and called 911 dispatch to report the alleged abuse.
The police who responded found the children, age 2 to 29, shackled to their beds or caged as punishment for relatively trivial things such as taking candy from the kitchen. They were also underweight, under-educated, wore feces-stained clothing and living in unsanitary conditions.
The children had to be hospitalized for severe malnourishment and other disorders, and are now in the care of Riverside County Child Protective Services.
The Riverside County District Attorney’s office said that Turpin’s lawyer, Jeff Moore, made the request that the 50-year-old woman be considered for mental health diversion program during a court appearance. Moore argued that his client has a histrionic personality disorder.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, people who have the condition may feel uncomfortable when they are not the center of attention, or display exaggerated or rapidly shifting emotions.
Moore asked the court to grant the order based on indications that Turpin suffers from psychiatric disorders that may have prevented her from understanding that she was committing the offenses alleged in her case.
According to the Desert Sun, state law allows some criminal defendants who suffer from mental health disorders except borderline personality disorder, pedophilia, and antisocial personality disorder to enter mental health treatment out of custody. The charges against them can be dismissed if they complete the treatment, which can last two years.
“Mrs. Turpin does not pose a threat to the public. She is amenable to treatment in a non-custodial setting,” Moore said, according to The Press-Enterprise.
Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz, however, denied the request saying that the court believes Turpin poses an unreasonable risk to public safety.
“Mental health treatment is an important component of our justice system,” the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said in its statement.
“However, as our prosecutor argued this morning, these types of crimes, which include our most vulnerable victims and pose a significant threat to public safety, should not be granted pre-plea diversion that could result in the court’s dismissal of all charges.”