Dr. Deception: Joseph Franzetti Dispenses $300 Psych Evaluations Like They’re Flu Shots, but the Reports Are Useless

Lisa Davis made it to her late-afternoon appointment with forensic psychiatrist Joseph Franzetti with time to spare.

It was April 2007, and Davis was with her 10-year-old son, Troy.

The fourth-grader was facing charges of criminal damage and burglary in Maricopa County Juvenile Court. He and a pal had gotten into trouble for breaking into a west Phoenix middle school and causing damage.

Because of the boy's tender age and serious learning disabilities, a judge had appointed two mental-health professionals to evaluate what the boy might know about the legal process and his place in it.

After separately interviewing Troy, each would file a "Rule 11" report with the judge listing their conclusions about the boy's competence to stand trial.

It was different from an insanity defense, in that the judge wasn't concerned with Troy's state of mind at the time of the offense.

The question on the table was whether Troy Davis was legally competent at the present time.

Records show that Troy, a special-education student at a small private school, is on psychotropic and other medications.

A few weeks before the session with Dr. Franzetti, Lisa Davis and her son met for about an hour with the other mental-health evaluator, psychologist Deborah Desprois.

Dr. Desprois concluded in her studiously detailed report to Judge Jonathan Schwartz that Troy "demonstrated no awareness or knowledge of the legal system, and expressed no understanding of any principles when I tried to explain them to him."

She said Troy knew nothing about the duties of defense attorneys, prosecutors, or judges, a key factor in Rule 11 reports.

Desprois wrote that Troy would not be "restored" to competence within the six months allowed under Arizona law to understand court proceedings. (The word restoration in this instance was misleading because it wrongly suggests that the boy once was competent.)

But Troy's mother did know how the criminal justice system works, specifically the competency-restoration process.

A teacher and doctoral-level psychologist, Lisa Davis had been teaching kids about it for years, including juveniles facing delinquency charges at the courthouse. (At the mother's request, New Times has changed Lisa and Troy Davis' real names to protect the boy's identity.)

Davis wasn't trying to pull a fast one on her son's behalf. She says she was more than willing to pay for the damage Troy had done in the school break-in.

But she also expected that the judge would dismiss the criminal charges against Troy because of his age and disabilities.

Davis says Dr. Franzetti's office at the Rio Salado Behavioral Health complex in Phoenix was crowded with parents and children with Rule 11 appointments.

That surprised her. She expected Troy's interview would take time, an hour or so, and she wondered how Franzetti would fit everyone in.

But people were moving in and out of the inner offices every few minutes, and someone soon ushered Davis and her son into Franzetti's meeting room.

Lisa Davis says Dr. Franzetti's court-ordered evaluation of her son took no more than five minutes and consisted of one question.

"Dr. Franzetti asked my son what the judge's job was," she says. "He answered, 'He's the boss.' That's exactly what I had told him before. Then Franzetti spoke with me for a few minutes. That was it."

Davis says she was "truly stunned" when she learned afterward that Franzetti's two-page report to Judge Schwartz said her son could be "restored" to competence within six months.

His report concluded that Troy currently was incompetent because of "cognitive naivety," an odd turn of phrase not found in the Psychiatric Dictionary, a go-to sourcebook for shrinks.

Franzetti claimed he asked Troy about the role of the public defender, to which Troy responded, "He is there to help me."

In response to an alleged question about what a judge does, Franzetti wrote that Troy told him, "He tells you to come to court."

Drs. Franzetti and Desprois billed the county $300 each for their reports, the going rate for Rule 11 evaluations.

Their differences of opinion meant the court would have to appoint a third doc to break the tie.

Forensic psychiatrist Jack Potts got the nod.

Lisa Davis says Dr. Potts interviewed her son alone for about an hour while she waited in another room.

Like Dr. Desprois, Potts concluded that Troy was incompetent and would remain so for the foreseeable future.

Judge Schwartz then dismissed the criminal case against Troy at a brief hearing.

Lisa Davis says she wanted to tell the judge about her and her son's troubling interaction with Joe Franzetti but didn't get the chance.

But Davis couldn't get it out of her head and, without fanfare, decided to stop teaching "restoration" classes at her school.

"I was appalled by what Dr. Franzetti did," Davis says. "He was so dishonest. He is running a racket and the courts let him get away with it. It wasn't about justice or doing the right thing for the child, for the court, or for anyone. It was about him making quick money."

Joseph Franzetti did not respond to requests by New Times for an interview for this story.


Dr. Jack Potts, too, was very disturbed by Joseph Franzetti's report in the Troy Davis case.

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10 comments
baddoctorssickos
baddoctorssickos

This franzetti needs to have his license pulled asap and jailed for collecting money and not doing the work.

what a shame this type of sociopath gets into medicine and is allowed to do this to juveniles.

This is the same thing Dr Phillip Lett is doing to nurses , labeling them and doing what the Bd Of Nursing wants. it is sad , and criminal . I hope the medical board comes down hard on both of them. to take someone who is at their rock bottom and do this to them is evil works. and crazy talk. not a medical report just craziness on a licesed nut job  all for money . ! fine them too!

Iwilltakeudown
Iwilltakeudown

Even if the statutes of limitations have run out from Franzettis birthday...(7/24/57) the day he broke off our (4) four year affair...I have so much garbage on this Doc that the board will have NO CHOICE but to reprimand him to the fullest extent. I wont stop until I find the proper most ETHICAL people on the AZ STATE BOARD...This SEXUALLY ADDICTED DOC NEEDS AN INTERVENTION. Im not giving up until this guy goes down!!! Your "Buddies" on the board wont be able to help u this time. I recall u telling me when we were together that a women (Prior affair) had more Money, Clout, & took care of u in every way. That must have been the "Medical chief of AZ ST. Board. Im finally piecing it all together Franzetti...Ive got LOTS O time on my hands!! More time than LIES you think you have to skate on this one.

Iwilltakeudown
Iwilltakeudown

Is it Dr.DEVTATE or Dr. alfa Franzetti, Youve really taken a step DOWN in the medical world. Im certainly not shocked. And I must say, you he is a complete sexual deviat, as well as taking advantage of a very vulnerable,demoralized,helpless,powerless, debilitated, frightend and completley depressed woman ! during her 24month sentence@ the (department of corrections) anthem az. all inmates were evaluated upon induction by franzetti.inmates were only seen on a PRN basis(as needed).inmates were responsible for any and all appointments there after upon change in there well being. however franzetti would demand he see me by schueduling appointments at his discretion. which was every other Wednesday. on the compound, when he approached me infront of administration and told me "just wanted to see how u been, havent seen you in awhile." i then asked him if us speaking would result in me being repremanded or disaplend..... he ignored my question completely and responded with," i dont care, i have a crush on u." i couldnt believe what i was hearing, and how unprofessional this sounded, not only amongst inmates, but prison officials as well. Sometime after 5-7months into my sentence, franzetti took the liberty of scheduling me to be seen. which i later realized was not for pshyciatric reasons, nor my well being, but for his own sexual desires and sick fantasies. franzetti became very minipulative and demanding. it made me feel as thou i was being pressured to sercum to his sexual desires. im concerned for any woman who might fall victim unto his lack of respect, total disregard of his professional ethics, but most importantly the deprevation and disregard of the oath the day he swore to heal and never hinder his patients nor obstruct there dignity, integrity and self respect! after my time served he looked for me and promissed a relationship said he was in love with me even meet his son all when he had been married and told me he was seperated and promised he was getting a divorce.. Dr. Franzetti took it upon himself to perscribe me the same antidepressant without being my doctor, as well as perscribing meds to other patients knowing it wont work on them so instead of having them dispose them at proper places like pharmacies and police stations he would keep them for himself. we would go to vacations together he also attended my daughters wedding. i have so much evidence on this guy what should i do report to the board , take to civil court? because of how he played with my emotions and heart i am now on antidepressants and anxiety meds ! plz i ask u all never trust this man the worst of doctors ! he rather have $300 then to know a proper diagnosis and ruin lives not only woman but children as well ! i pray for u franzetti and just know what goes around comes around and ur going to have alot of paying to do ! oh quit taking ur patients meds to get high off ! stop cheating on ur wife and keep ur pencil dick inside ur pants nobody wants to see that infected lil thing ..... I pray for u and hope u are truly sorry for all the people u hurt because of ur selfishness i truly hope u fight ur demons because there is good in u??? SAD how u give in to the DARK SIDE SOOOO EASILY ... Just so u know, showing private parts in a prison to a patient is so against the law, ethics & OATH ! The nation will soon find out about u and ur going to lose... not just ur finances, & family, but ur reputation...IF U HAVE ONE LEFT

Sue, another former
Sue, another former

Numbers 2 and 5: I also had Dr. Franzetti as my psych for maybe a year and a half, both with Value Options and when it changed to Magellan-at the clinic on Cave Creek Rd. At one of my first appts. with him, he was prescribing my meds. He prescribed two antidepressants and no mood stabilizer. You don't do that with bipolars. I didn't question it, deliberately, because I missed having a manic episode. I had just recieved my lump sum payment from SSDI, went to San Francisco to visit my daughter, and went on a MAJOR spending spree while there. When I came back, I was still on my manic high when I had my next appt. with him. I went on excitedly talking about my SF visit, in great detail. I showed him my new tatoo I had gotten while there. He just sat there laughing, and then out of the blue, he asked me, "do you have a boyfriend?" I was a bit shocked, andsaid no, that wasn't one of my priorities at the time and discreetly mentioned the fact that I thought I needed a mood stabilizer to accompany the AD's. He then became distant and professional and wrote me a script for a mood stabilizer and sent me on my way. I've often thought about his questioning me about a boyfriend, since then, about how unprofessional it was. This article and your comments finally settled the issue in my mind. Unbelievable.

diane
diane

#2, what magellan site/s did you see this guy at? he sounds vaguely familiar.

--another 'client'

Tanner
Tanner

how did New Times "obtain" the 48 reports? All juvenile records and medical records are sealed.

Concerned Citizen
Concerned Citizen

This doctor sounds bad but how come we never read about the many lawyers in town who commit professional misconduct? The list is long and the Arizona Bar must not have any standards at all. Many lawyers are destroying lives, families and children without even a care in the world.

former Magellan "consumer"
former Magellan "consumer"

Hey- I had an appointment or two with this "doctor" when he was at Value Options, now Magellan. He was wearing a short sleeve shirt, top few buttons unbuttoned, no undershirt, like he was in Las Vegas or something. I thought that was very unusual. No case managers ever dressed like that. I still remember that appointment like it was yesterday. Are there any other past or current Magellan/VO folks who have gotten some of their meds from him? This "doctor" is part of the reason why the mental health system here, run by a for-profit corporation, absolutely sucks. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to Paul Rubin and New Times for bringing this story to light.

John Givens
John Givens

This doctor not only deserves to lose his license to practice medicine. He should be indicted. Maybe this is a case that Sheriff Joe could sink his teeth into for a good reason for once.

blkwhtbike12
blkwhtbike12

@Iwilltakeudown you have horrible grammar. 

 
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