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United States v. Whaley

February 26, 2007

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JERRY HAROLD WHALEY AND EDWARD WILLIAM STRICKLAND, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: H. Bruce Guyton United States Magistrate Judge

(Phillips / Guyton)

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. This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Determine Competency [Doc. 19], filed February 21, 2007, by counsel for defendant Edward William Strickland In this motion [Doc. 19], Attorney Michael Coleman 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 Strickland 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. The government does not opposed entry of an order directing that a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant be conducted.

After carefully considering Defendant's Motion to Determine Competency [Doc. 19], 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). Accordingly, the Court finds that the defendant should undergo a full evaluation under 18 U.S.C. § 4241 (a) and (b). Thus, the motion [Docs. 19] is GRANTED.

A status conference and/or competency hearing is set for April 4, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. Further, the Court finds that until the mental evaluation is complete and the issue of competency resolved, counsel for defendant Strickland cannot have meaningful interaction with him in order to review the facts of the case, properly advise him of the law, including any defenses he may have, and assess the need for pre-trial motions. Accordingly, the deadline for filing pre-trial motions in this case is extended to April 13, 2007. responses are due on or before April 20, 2007. The Court notes that the jury trial of this matter is currently scheduled for June 5, 2007. If it appears that the trial date may need to be continued, the Court will address that at the April 4, 2007, status conference/competency hearing.

It is therefore ORDERED:

1. That 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 the 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. the defendant's history and present symptoms;

b. a description of the psychiatric, psychological, and medical tests that were employed and their results;

c. the examiner's findings; and

d. the examiner's opinions as to diagnosis, prognosis, and

(1) whether 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 ...


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