Mental health advocates seek relief for autistic Va. inmate

AP News
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Posted: Jan 04, 2015 10:26 AM

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Mental health and civil liberties advocates are urging Gov. Terry McAuliffe to intervene in the case of a Virginia inmate with autism who faces trial Wednesday for allegedly assaulting a correctional officer.

Reginald Latson's supporters and lawyers say he needs treatment, not punishment, for the intellectual disabilities that have caused three clashes with law enforcement since 2010. They have asked McAuliffe to grant conditional clemency so the 23-year-old Latson can be moved to a secure treatment facility in Florida that has agreed to accept him.

McAuliffe spokesman Brian Coy says there's little the governor can do until the pending case is resolved.

Latson has twice been jailed for assaulting police. His supporters say those incidents stem from a "fight or flight" reflex associated with his autism.