'Serial stowaway' Marilyn Hartman to remain in jail

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A judge ordered serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman to remain in custody Wednesday. (WLS)

A judge ordered serial stowaway Marilyn Hartman to remain in custody Wednesday morning.

Hartman has repeatedly tried to sneak onto airplanes at Chicago airports, the most recent incident happened last Sunday.

Hartman was also ordered to be evaluated for sanity and fitness to stand trial.

When Judge Adam Bourgeois, Jr. asked: "Does your client have any family?"

Public Defender Parle Roe-Taylor said: "Yes."

But Marilyn Hartman exclaimed: "No I don't!"

Judge Bourgeois then asked: "Is your client currently under care of a medical professional?"

Roe-Taylor replied: "No."

But Hartman retorted: "Yes!"

"She's having a difficult time, she's having a difficult day," said Cook County Assistant Public Defender Parle Roe-Taylor.

Hartman's public defender Roe-Taylor has represented her for various charges over the last three years related to being on airplanes or airport property and is attempting to find a facility that would better address mental health issues.

She has been repeatedly arrested for trespassing at O'Hare. The most serious was an incident January 14 when she got through a TSA checkpoint and boarded a flight to London.

After that incident, she was ordered to stay away from Chicago airports and was released from custody.
Over the weekend, she was once again found at O'Hare.

Her case has highlighted vulnerabilities in airport security. And limitations of the criminal justice system to handle repeat offenders of low-level, non-violent crimes with mental health issues.

"I don't think jail is an appropriate place for Ms. Hartman. What we know is she is not violent, none of the offenses have anything to do with violence, she is not pushing past anyone in any of these instances. She is not hurting personnel, even when she is at the airport. I don't think that at 66 this is a place that she should be. She is very defenseless," said Roe-Taylor

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart spoke about Hartman's case Tuesday. He is among those calling for more effective options for non-violent, mentally ill, repeat offenders.

"They basically get treated like criminals more often than not and then just thrown out to the street. That's just sort of the norm and it doesn't work," Dart said Tuesday.

Jennifer McGowan-Tomke, the Associate Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, said ending that cycle lies in treatment outside of jail.

"We need a system outside of this institutionalization to treat people who have needs in the community," said Jennifer McGowan-Tomke. "We'd like to see opportunity to build a support network in the community, address those immediate needs and start building trust around long term recovery and treatment goals."

Several agencies are involved in this case, federal as well as local agencies. They are reviewing security procedures, talking with personnel. TSA has already made changes at O'Hare.

Hartman is due back in court on February 13.
Related Topics:
o'hare airportairport securityTSAcustodymental health
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