Alleged drug dealer 'not competent' to stand trial
Charges might be dropped in 18 months if the man's treatment isn't effective
February 3, 2014
A former Carroll man charged with numerous drug-related felonies needs treatment for an unspecified mental disorder that prevents him from defending himself against the allegations, a psychiatrist determined last week.
Dean Loew, 46, allegedly sold marijuana and high-purity methamphetamine at a rural Arcadia farmstead twice last year under surveillance of local law officers. His attorney, Robert Peterson, of Carroll, sought a psychiatric evaluation last month for Loew, whose "extensive drug usage" might have rendered him incapable of knowing right from wrong and aiding his defense against the criminal charges.
A Des Moines-area psychiatrist agreed with Peterson in his evaluation report, which was sealed from public view by a judge because it contains confidential medical information.
Peterson has asked that Loew be released from the Carroll County jail - where he has been held for two months on a $100,000 cash bond - to seek mental-health treatment, according to court documents.
But County Attorney John Werden wrote last week that Loew "poses a danger to the public peace or safety" and should be confined in an eastern Iowa prison for a second-opinion evaluation and possible treatment, court documents show.
It's unclear when a judge will rule on the attorneys' requests.
District Judge Gary McMinimee denied last month Loew's request to reduce the amount of money he must pay to be released from jail and said the $100,000 "is appropriate considering the danger the defendant appears to pose to others if released pending trial."
Coon Rapids Police Chief Joel Roetman said in court last month that Loew threatened informants who allegedly helped local law officers with their drug surveillance of the man.
"Run (explicit) run. Run (explicit) run. When I find ya, I'm gonna beat ya," Loew allegedly said in a voice message to one of the informants.
Roetman said Loew "is a threat with a history of violence."
But Peterson said Loew would tend to his ailing mother - and likely live at her rural Carroll house - if released.
If a judge rules that Loew needs mental-health treatment before his case can proceed in court, Loew would be treated for up to 18 months, after which his felony charges might be dismissed if he is still unable to stand trial.
Werden could then request an indefinite civil commitment for further treatment and has the option to reinstate the charges if "it appears thereafter that the defendant has regained competency," according to state law.
Peterson, in his request for a psychiatric evaluation of Loew, cited a couple examples of his aberrant behavior:
Loew has written several notes to sheriff's officials about the case that "clearly do not help the defendant," Peterson said. Loew "continues to believe that he can be released from jail to make major drug buys for the state. ... Even the jailers have made comments to (me) concerning the defendant's mental state."
Loew asked last month for a new attorney to replace Peterson but later withdrew the request.
He faces felony charges for delivery of methamphetamine and marijuana, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, and drug-related tax violations. They are punishable by up to 95 years in prison if he is convicted.
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