Illness plays no role in man’s robbery sentence — (The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal)

SSRI Ed note: Man never in trouble with the law, prescribed medication for depression, 5 months later commits badly planned armed robbery. Caught, jailed.
 Original article no longer available

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal


Posted: Jan. 23, 2006

Waukesha – Nothing about Ned Giugno’s life suggested that someday he’d wind up in trouble with the law, except maybe his mental illness.

How big a role that illness played in his decision to stage a hapless bank robbery was debated in a courtroom Monday. When a judge had the final word, he concluded that Giugno’s mental health was no reason to keep him out of prison, sending him there with a four-year term followed by 10 years of extended supervision.

“You’re suffering, but you’re not doing what you need to do,” Waukesha County Circuit Judge Paul Reilly told Giugno. “The fact is you did it and it’s a crime, a very violent crime.

“You did it to get money. You did it to serve your own self interests.”

Giugno, 25, was sentenced by Reilly on a charge of armed robbery for the Nov. 4, 2004, holdup of the Associated Bank branch in Lisbon. Reilly found Giugno guilty of the charge after a bench trial in November, rejecting the conclusions of two psychologists and one psychiatrist who believe that Giugno was criminally insane when he robbed the bank.

Reilly instead sided with two psychiatrists who concluded that although Giugno was suffering from a mental illness during the holdup, it was not severe enough to prevent him from knowing right from wrong and obeying the law.

Giugno had never been arrested before the robbery, and nothing in his life to that point suggested he was capable of committing such a crime.

He grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette High School with a 3.3 grade-point average in 1998. In 2003, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

His siblings and his parents are college-educated. His father, Michael Giugno, is director of transportation for the Milwaukee County Transit System, according to court records.

But the son never landed a full-time job after college and he drifted directionless, living in an apartment in Shorewood with his parents paying the rent and giving him $50 a week in spending money, records show.

His mental health problems surfaced in January 2000 when he was the subject of an emergency detention at the Milwaukee County Mental Health Complex “because of violent and aggressive behavior and delusional demeanor,” according to a report for Giugno’s trial by psychiatrist Robert Rawski.

In 2001, Giugno was seen by a psychologist for “paranoid” and “threatening” behavior, according to a report by psychiatrist George Palermo.

In June 2004, five months before the robbery, according to Palermo, Giugno was treated for depression and “anxiety disorder” and prescribed medication. One month before the robbery, according to court records, Giugno told a treating psychiatrist that he felt shiftless, as though he had a “chemical imbalance,” Palermo noted in his report.

“He kept going in and saying, ‘Something’s not working,’ ” his attorney, Alex Flynn, told Reilly on Monday.

On Nov. 3, according to court records, Giugno decided to rob the bank in Lisbon.

“I was getting a rush of blood to the head,” he told Palermo. “I was in a prankster mood.”

Giugno told psychiatrist Frederick Fosdal that he decided to do it for “the adrenaline rush and the money.”

“I was not sure how to plan for it,” he told Fosdal, according to his report. “I thought it was stupid to buy a mask.”

That day, Giugno bought a rifle at a sporting goods store in Brookfield and was told to return the next day to pick it up, according to court records. He spent the night at a motel in Waukesha County and got the gun the next morning, records show, dismissing doubts he developed about committing the crime.

“I was afraid of the reaction of the gunsmith,” he told Palermo. “Then, how could I have justified $90 for the hotel?

“What was I going to tell mother?”

After going out for breakfast, working out in a gym, driving around for an hour and stopping in a parking lot to read the manual on how to load and use the rifle, Giugno went to the bank, according to court records. He marched toward
a rear door with the rifle, records show, and found it locked so he headed to the front door.

“I went in the front door and yelled ‘Robbery!’ because that’s all I could think to say,” he told a sheriff’s detective later, according to a the detective’s report.

Giugno left the bank and drove east toward the Highway 45 but was stopped minutes later by a Menomonee Falls police officer who heard a radio broadcast about the robbery and a description of the robber’s car, according to a complaint.

Specialists disagree

After he entered a criminal insanity plea, Giugno was examined by Rawski, Fosdal, Palermo and two psychologists. Although Palermo and the psychologists concluded that Giugno was criminally insane, Fosdal and Rawski determined he suffered from depression but was not impaired enough to be criminally insane.

“He is truly, truly mentally ill,” attorney and State Bar of Wisconsin President D. Michael Guerin, a longtime Giugno family friend, told Reilly on Monday. “I know what goes on in the prison system.

“There’s nothing good that’s going to come out of that.”

Waukesha County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Centinario Jr. disagreed, recommending a prison term and saying, “It’s important to blame the defendant and not his mental illness, his doctors or his lack of a job.”

“I know what I did was wrong, and I’m very sorry,” Giugno told Reilly. “That’s all I can say.”

Reilly said it was clear that Giugno knew right from wrong.

“You’ll still be a young man when you get out of prison,” he said.