Farrell wins 90 day Reprieve – Attorney says says anti-depressant may account for shoplifting — (Denver Post)

SSRI Ed note: Woman taking Prozac for 3 years may be deported, has record of shoplifting, her attorney states the behaviour was "out of character, maybe due to med.

Original article no longer available

The Denver Post

April 17, 1992

Author: Peter Chronis; Denver Post Staff Writer

Maureen Farrell, the Irish widow fighting deportation from the United States, won a 90-day reprieve from a federal judge yesterday, and Farrell’s attorney suggested she may be suffering side effects of the antidepressant Prozac.

In an impromptu news conference outside the Denver federal courthouse, attorney Joseph Kiely said Farrell has been depressed and has been taking Prozac for three years. Kiely said he’ll seek a psychiatric evaluation of his client.

Revelations this week that Farrell has an arrest record prompted Kiely’s comments, after a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Jim Carrigan, who stayed Farrell’s scheduled May 17 deportation until Aug. 17.

Kiely, who has a serious illness and left a hospital bed to make the court appearance, said he needed more time to study Farrell’s case. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, which has resisted public pressure to give Farrell political asylum in the United States, did not oppose Carrigan’s reopening of the case.

“The court has been concerned in the past that the petitioner seems very depressed,” Carrigan said, noting he was “concerned that her decisions have been made under the effects of depression.”

Farrell, a 35-year-old legal secretary, wants to remain in the United States to raise her 4-year-old American daughter, Jamie. Her attempts to gain permanent residency have made her a cause celebre, but she found herself surrounded by controversy over the revelation Wednesday that she had been arrested several times on shoplifting charges.

The most recent arrest was Saturday at the Cinnamon Bakery in Westminster Mall, where Farrell allegedly took a $9.99 package of cinnamon rolls. Kiely said Farrell’s alleged shoplifting was “out of character,” possibly brought on by her use of Prozac.

Farrell would not respond to questions yesterday. But in a previous interview with The Denver Post, when a reporter asked her about a rumor that she had an arrest record, Farrell denied it.

Farrell apparently made a similar declaration in an affidavit to the INS. Kiely said that issue “could be a problem.”

Kiely also responded to reports that Farrell was born in Scotland, not Ireland, and that her husband’s death three years ago might have been a suicide and not from complications of diabetes.

Kiely said Farrell’s father was Irish and her mother was Scottish. Her parents moved to Belfast, Northern Ireland, when Farrell was 2 months old.

“She’s a Northern Irish citizen,” he said. Farrell’s passport lists her birthplace as Scotland.

Farrell and her husband had family problems, Kiely said, and the husband had left their home. But the cause of death three years ago wasn’t determined to be suicide, Kiely said.

“The body wasn’t found until three weeks after he had passed away,” Kiely said.

Farrell came to the United States in 1982 after her apartment building in Portadown, Northern Ireland, was destroyed by a 400-pound terrorist car bomb. She has waged a 10-year campaign to gain political asylum. Police records indicate Farrell has several arrests:

June 25, 1982, in Vail, where she was arrested on a larceny charge. Disposition of that case is unclear.

Dec. 18, 1983, at the Sears store in Northglenn, where Farrell allegedly took perfume valued at $69. The charge was dismissed, and she was fined $100 for disturbing the peace.

June 9, 1984, J.C. Penney Co., Northglenn, where she allegedly took clothing worth $100. That charge also was dismissed, and Farrell was fined $100 for disturbing the peace.

Dec. 16, 1989, at the Broadway Southwest, Westminster, Farrell was caught shoplifting goods valued at $226.64. She pleaded guilty and paid a $135 fine.

Nov. 23, 1990, May D&F, Westminster, Farrell was arrested and pleaded guilty to stealing a child’s blanket worth $16. She was fined $100.

Record Number: DNVR107181
Copyright 1992 The Denver Post Corp.