San Francisco, CA – Omeed Aziz Popal, 31, was found not guilty by reason of insanity by Judge Carol Yaggy today, at the Hall of Justice, 850 Bryant Street. Popal was facing attempted murder charges in connection with a series of alleged hit-and-run incidents involving sixteen people in San Francisco on August 29, 2006.
The Court relied on two separate evaluations by court appointed doctors to find that Mr. Popal was legally insane at the time of the incident. Medical records show, without dispute, that Mr. Popal has a history of severe mental illness and suffered from auditory command hallucinations before, during and after the incident. Within six months prior to his arrest, Popal suffered two psychiatric breakdowns resulting in hospitalization and involuntarily commitments. Mr. Popal has been receiving psychiatric treatment in jail since his arrest two years ago. His current diagnosis is schizophrenia, paranoid type.
According to Popal’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Sandy Feinland, “Fortunately, both court appointed psychiatrists found Mr. Popal to be insane at the time of this tragedy. He will be institutionalized at a mental hospital rather than a state prison. Mr. Popal will finally receive the mental health treatment that could have prevented this tragedy from occurring in the first place.”
The mission of the Public Defender’s office is to provide vigorous, effective, competent and ethical legal representation to persons who are accused of crime and cannot afford to hire an attorney. Established in 1921, the San Francisco Public Defender has a long, proud history of providing top-notch representation to its clients, and championing programs that help people turn their lives around.