He was released in January 2004. About a year later, he sued the Social Security Administration, which had denied his application for disability benefits and health insurance.
“He couldn’t work. He just mentally couldn’t make the connection for eight hours a day,” said David Evans, the attorney who represented Duke.
Evans said Duke had been diagnosed by several doctors as bipolar, but didn’t have enough money to buy the needed medication. “He was clearly in need of help,” Evans said.
They filed at least five appeals to the denials.
“The judges adjudicating the claims didn’t feel the claim was significant enough,” Evans said. “All he was asking for was $500 or $600 a month and medical insurance.”
Duke withdrew the suit in 2006.
He and Rebecca had married in 1999, just before his prison sentence. She said Wednesday that Duke faithfully took his medication for his bipolar disorder, but that he was under a lot of stress–she had been fired from the school district and her final unemployment check was due this week.
Tommy Lou Richardson, the executive director of human resources for the Bay District, said Rebecca Duke was hired in September 2009 as a primary school teacher for students with special needs. She was given a 97-day probationary period, and was terminated.
“She was not performing appropriately, we thought, the principal thought, and so she was let go,” Richardson said.
She wasn’t able to go into any further detail.
Richardson said Rebecca Duke had “indicated that she felt like there was a violation of her employment rights,” though she never filed a lawsuit.
About a week ago, Clay Duke joined Facebook. Over the past several days, he added photo stills from the movie and graphic novel “V for Vendetta,” a nihilistic account of a masked man who fights against a totalitarian government. The movie’s predominant symbol–a red “V” inside of a circle–was posted several times on Duke’s page.