The attorney for a Los Angeles woman who was sentenced to 180 days in jail after calling 911 more than 400 times over the last three years said Tuesday that her client suffers from panic disorder and calls the emergency number “honestly believing she will die.”
In an email, attorney Rachel Rossi said 43-year-old Linette Young never had the intent to annoy or harass law enforcement and did not deliberately lie or report an emergency she knew was false.
“A mentally ill woman will be spending the holidays in jail for being mentally ill,” Rossi said. “She had made about 400 calls since 2011. The Fire Department was understandably very frustrated, but this was not criminal.”
Young was sentenced to 180 days in jail, three years of probation and mandatory psychological counseling.
Authorities said she would sometimes call 911 as many as six times a day, and from Jan. 1 to Sept. 13, 2013, she called 911 for paramedics 220 times. Each time she was helped by paramedics, they reportedly found no medical issues.
“911 is for emergency calls only, and this conviction is part of our work to ensure that the public’s lifeline is not abused,” City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement announcing the conviction Monday.
Young was convicted of 12 counts of annoying or harassing 911 calls and 13 counts of making a false emergency report.
Rossi said Young took the stand to try and describe “the sheer fear she experiences during a panic attack.”
“This verdict, and especially the sentence, were a grave injustice,” Rossi said.