In the eyes of the law, 33-year-old Tyler Bradford Revel has a mental defect, but not a mental illness. Revel had been held in Mobile Metro Jail since January 2019, when he allegedly smoked methamphetamine and then broke into several of his parents’ neighbors’ houses.
Late last year, he was found “not guilty by reason of mental defect” but remained incarcerated, with the court declaring Revel “a danger to himself or others.” The Alabama Department of Mental Health determined Revel was not a candidate for its Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility, and on April 30, Judge Michael Youngpeter determined Revel should be placed in an AltaPointe group home, pursuant to conditions of treatment and behavior.
But on May 6, prosecutors filed a motion for a rehearing on Revel’s release, arguing new information emerged about Revel’s diagnosis and potential for recovery. During the rehearing May 12, Assistant District Attorney Coy Morgan argued Revel had continued to use drugs while in Mobile Metro Jail and had been uncooperative with attempts to properly place him elsewhere.
Although evaluations conducted by both the Alabama Department of Mental Health and AltaPointe determined Revel “does not have a serious mental illness” and suggested the inmate “is malingering in an effort to avoid prison,” Morgan told Youngpeter a bed could be available at Taylor Hardin in two to three months.
Youngpeter expressed disappointment with the options for Revel’s release or transfer. In an April evaluation, AltaPointe concluded Revel’s drug use, aggression and attitude made him ineligible for their program. An AltaPointe psychiatrist also determined “Mr. Revel is not appropriate for direct release into the community and will require a locked facility for the safety of the community.”
“Due to him causing conflict in his parents’ neighborhood, his return there is almost certain to result in failure and a potentially fatal outcome for him or a neighbor,” the report found. Yet defense attorney Brian Lockwood urged Youngpeter to release Revel into the custody of his mother.
“The law is the law and if the court accepts the factual premises found in [the AltaPoint] report … then I think everyone who is an officer of the court has their hands plumb tied,” Lockwood said. “And that’s not good for Tyler, it’s not good for the community, it’s not good for anybody. But if we’re going to be obedient to what I understand is the black letter of the law — whether it should be or not, whether that’s equitable or not, whether it’s justice or not — I think the answer is [to release him to his mother].”
Youngpeter agreed, and on May 12 at approximately 6:30 p.m., Revel walked out of Metro Jail. Then, on May 14 at 11:35 a.m., Morgan filed a motion to detain Revel, noting he had been admitted to Mobile Infirmary hours earlier “with numerous physical injuries and a meth overdose.” Youngpeter granted the motion almost immediately.
“The court finds the defendant has violated the condition of release imposed,” he wrote. “The court further finds the defendant requires inpatient treatment to abate his mental illness symptoms and the threat of harm to self or others.”
Revel was booked back into Metro Jail at roughly 1:30 p.m. on May 14, after just 43 hours of freedom. He awaits a bed at Taylor Hardin.
“In 10 years, when we look back, what will we wish we had done?” Morgan asked rhetorically May 12. Lockwood had an answer.
“Ten years from now we’re going to wish we had more facilities than Taylor Hardin, that we had changes in the law that recognized addiction or substance abuse as a serious mental health issue,” he said. “If we look back in 10 years, I think we say, ‘That was terrible, but we had to follow the law.’ I think we can look in the mirror and say, ‘We took an oath to uphold the law and Constitution and we did it. We hated it, but we did it.’”
Morgan issued a brief statement after Revel’s arrest.
“For the first time in three years, the families, including many of their young children, can be at peace knowing that Tyler Revel is not coming back to their neighborhood,” he said.
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