Defense lawyer D. Scott Perrine yesterday appeared in a Philadelphia courtroom for the first time since he fled his Center City apartment in March.

Dressed in a long-sleeve gray shirt and blue jeans, Perrine, 31, looked thinner and his curly brown hair was a bit unkempt.

Perrine is accused of having brought a small vial of cocaine into the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility in October 2007, when he was visiting a client. Last December, Common Pleas Judge Joan Brown allowed him to be released from jail - where he had been held for a month after twice failing to appear in court - and placed him on house arrest.

But on March 25, Perrine cut his electronic-monitoring bracelet and boarded a train to Washington. He was arrested April 10 outside an Arlington, Va., hotel.

State Senior Deputy Attorney General E. Marc Costanzo, who is prosecuting Perrine's case, recently asked for an out-of-county judge to preside over Perrine's upcoming trial. Perrine, a former city prosecutor and more recently a practicing defense lawyer, is "well-known to a lot of the Philadelphia judiciary," Costanzo told the Daily News.

Perrine's case is before Common Pleas Senior Judge Charles B. Smith, of Chester County, who yesterday presided at Perrine's bench-warrant hearing at the Criminal Justice Center.

Pretrial officer Steven Paletz told Smith that prior to the escape, Perrine had written letters to the CIA claiming that a rogue agent or agents "were taking over his brain and bodily functions."

The CIA "wanted me to get him help and get him to stop sending letters," Paletz said, adding that he was "concerned" by the letters and had informed his supervisor.

Perrine fought his extradition back to Philadelphia following his arrest in Arlington. The Attorney General's Office asked Gov. Rendell to sign a "governor's warrant" to get Perrine back.

On Friday, the commonwealth charged Perrine with two offenses related to his March 25 flight.

Smith yesterday noted that Perrine likely has mental-health issues and ordered a psychiatric evaluation.