THE RULE 11 REVOLVING DOOR

A LOOPHOLE HAS ALLOWED THE MENTALLY INCOMPETENT TO COMMIT CRIME AFTER CRIME, WITHOUT BEING PUNISHED OR PLACED UNDER SUPERVISION

Jail probably is a better place for Thomas than his last-known residence--a burned-out home in South Phoenix owned by his mother. Thomas stayed alone in the shell for weeks, surviving without electricity or water.

Around that time, the public fiduciary--Thomas' limited guardian since March 1994--asked the state to place Thomas in a locked facility that's not a jail. The state indicated it has no such secured settings.

Then, in a memorandum filed February 27, the fiduciary tried to slide out of its role as Thomas' guardian.

"Without the availability of a secured placement," the office's Michael Strauber wrote, "there is nothing that will prevent Mr. Thomas from continuing to commit crimes for which he cannot be found competent to stand trial."

DeWayne Thomas' latest Rule 11 evaluation is pending.

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