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United States v. Alexander

December 21, 2006

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JONATHAN MICHAEL ALEXANDER, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: C. Clifford Shirley, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

VARLAN/SHIRLEY

ORDER OF COMMITMENT FOR MENTAL EXAMINATION AND EVALUATION

All pretrial motions in this case have been referred to the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b) for disposition or report and recommendation regarding disposition by the District Court as may be appropriate. On December 21, 2006, the parties appeared before the Court for a scheduled motion hearing on Defendant Alexander's motion to determine mental competency [Doc. 17] and Notice of Insanity Defense [Doc. 14], and the government's Motion For Psychiatric Or Psychological Evaluation [Doc. 15]. Assistant United States Attorney Tracy Stone appeared for the government. Attorney Jonathan Moffatt appeared on behalf of Defendant Alexander, who was also present.

In Defendant's motion [Doc. 17], Attorney Moffatt moves, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a), for an order for psychiatric and psychological evaluation on the basis that there is reasonable cause to believe Defendant Alexander may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect that renders him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense.

Attorney Moffatt also filed an affidavit under seal setting forth the detailed basis for this belief and position.

The government, likewise, moves [Doc. 15] the Court for entry of an order directing that a psychiatric or psychological examination of the Defendant be conducted, and that the resulting report be filed with the Court in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b) and (c).

After carefully considering Defendant's motion to determine mental competency [Doc. 17] and Notice of Insanity Defense [Doc. 14], and the government's Motion For Psychiatric Or Psychological Evaluation [Doc. 15], as well as the representations made by defense counsel at the December 21 hearing, the Court finds there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant is "suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense." 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Because of the sanity issue being raised and for reasons of judicial economy, Defendant Alexander will be evaluated for sanity at the same time. Accordingly, the Court finds that Defendant Alexander should undergo a full evaluation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241 and §4242 and that a psychiatric or psychological report be filed with the Court pursuant to the provisions of § 4247 (b) and (c). Thus, the motions [Docs. 17 and 15] are GRANTED.

With regard to the January 4, 2007 trial date, the Court finds that the present trial date must be continued and that a realistic trial date cannot be set at this time. The time during which the defendant is undergoing a mental examination is excludable under the Speedy Trial Act. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(A). Additionally, up to ten days of transportation time is excludable under the Act. 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(H). Once Defendant returns from his examination, the Court will need to hold a competency hearing, the time for which will also be excludable. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(F). If the defendant is found competent, the parties will need time to prepare for trial. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(B)(iv). Accordingly, the Court finds that the ends of justice served by the continuance for an evaluation outweigh the best interest of the defendant and the public in a speedy trial. See 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(8)(A). A new trial date will not be set at this time. A status conference and/or competency hearing is set for April 16, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.

It is therefore ORDERED:

1. Defendant is hereby committed to the custody of the Attorney General of the United States or his designated representative for the purposes indicated herein and the United States Marshal is hereby directed to transport the defendant to the nearest suitable psychiatric facility (hospital) for purposes of psychiatric evaluation, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241 and 4242. Said commitment shall be for a reasonable period not to exceed forty-five (45) days (to commence when defendant arrives at the facility), unless otherwise ordered.

2. That the receiving facility and doctor in whose primary care Defendant is placed shall file a written report with this Court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(c) as soon as practical with copies to counsel for the government and the defendant, said report to include:

a. Defendant's history and present symptoms;

b. a description of the psychiatric, psychological, and medical tests that were ...


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