House Bill 310: Beshear signs into law measure that could keep Cane Madden off the streets

Updated: Apr. 2, 2021 at 12:33 AM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Hours before a man was scheduled to appear in court to possibly learn whether he could be involuntarily sentenced to a mental facility, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed into law the very measure that would allow such a ruling.

The complicated case of Cane Madden, ruled incompetent to stand trial in separate assault cases in 2017 and 2019, was scheduled to take another turn in a Jefferson County courtroom Thursday.

Madden was ruled incompetent to stand trial for allegedly attacking a woman he knew in the California neighborhood in 2017. During that brutal assault, Madden bit off a portion of Latoya Smith’s face.

“He bit my eye off,” Smith told WAVE 3 News just this week.

Smith is still struggling with the trauma of what happened to her, especially after Madden was released.

“I didn’t know he was out until I saw him. I wasn’t even alerted,” she said.

Smith doesn’t believe her attacker is mentally incapacitated; instead, she accuses Madden of putting on a show to avoid trial.

“He let me know, he was still dangerous, because he’s running around without consequences, even though he knows he did something wrong,” she explained, running her hand over the scar Madden left on her face.

“I think its all a show,” Smith continued, “because when he got out, found incompetent, [he] got out and apologized to me. I just think he does that.”

Free to roam the streets, Madden struck again in 2019; this time an 8-year-old girl was his alleged target. Accused of hitting her over the head with a shovel and then raping her, Madden was ruled incompetent in that case as well.

Madden went before a judge Thursday, however, those hearings are confidential and the details have not been disclosed publicly.

Jefferson County Commonwealth’s Attorney Tom Wine said he’s grateful that Beshear signed House Bill 310 into law, allowing Wine’s office to petition to have Madden involuntarily committed for mental treatment.

The filing of such a petition would then require an evidentiary hearing to determine whether there is enough evidence showing a defendant is guilty of a crime. The defendant, his attorney and a court-appointed guardian ad litem would be present at that hearing, as would a prosecutor and two medical health professionals.

In addition to protecting a defendant’s community and himself from harm, House Bill 310 also is aimed at ensuring said defendant receives due process.

Under previous law, if a defendant was deemed incompetent to stand trial but unlikely to benefit from treatment, he could walk free. The new statute allows the state to petition for the involuntary treatment once he’s ruled incompetent.

Kentucky senators Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams and Rep. Jason Nemes got the bill rolling during last year’s legislative session that was cut short by the coronavirus emergency.

“I wish to publicly thank Governor Beshear and his legislative team who worked hard to review the final bill after it was presented to him on Tuesday,” Wine said in a statement. “I am equally grateful for the bipartisan efforts of the Kentucky General Assembly, and especially for the work of Senators Morgan McGarvey and Julie Raque Adams and Representative Jason Nemes. Work on this bill began last year through a cooperative effort involving the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, local defense attorneys, public health officials and Senator McGarvey. While the legislation did not pass in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, the groundwork was laid for this year’s successful work. The passage of this important bill is an excellent example of what good can be achieved when we all work together for the benefit of the Commonwealth.”

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