United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
ORDER OF COMMITMENT FOR MENTAL EXAMINATION AND
Clifford Shirley, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge.
case came before the Court on March 27, 2017, for a motion
hearing on the Defendant's Motion to Conduct
Psychological Evaluation Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241
[Doc. 553], filed on March 22, 2017, and referred [Doc. 555]
on March 23, 2017. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b).
Assistant United States Attorney Brooklyn Sawyers Belk
appeared on behalf of the Government. Assistant Federal
Defender Benjamin G. Sharp represented Defendant Sandifer.
Defendant Sandifer was excused from appearing at the hearing
due to mental health problems.
Sandifer is in custody awaiting a revocation hearing on a
Petition for Warrant for Offender Under Supervision [Doc.
547]. Defense counsel asks the Court to order a mental
evaluation of Defendant Sandifer's competency to
participate in her revocation hearing. The motion states that
Defendant has a history of mental health problems and, since
her initial appearance on the Petition, has repeatedly
threatened to harm herself. In the motion, counsel asks that
the Defendant's revocation hearing be held in abeyance
pending a psychological evaluation by the Bureau of Prisons.
hearing, Mr. Sharp stated that Defendant Sandifer, who was
extremely emotional at her initial appearance and detention
hearing, refused to meet with him about her case. He stated
that when she finally consented to meet with him about one
and one-half weeks after her detention hearing, she was
withdrawn, would not make eye contact with him, and seemed
not to care about anything, including her case. He said that
the Defendant appeared to be incapable of participating in
her defense. He agreed that she likely did not understand the
nature and consequences of the proceedings.
Sawyers Belk stated that the Government did not opposed the
requested mental evaluation. She said that based upon her own
personal interactions with Defendant Sandifer, she believed
that the Defendant suffers from mental health issues.
upon the information presented in the motion and at the
hearings along with the Court's own observations of the
Defendant at her initial appearance and detention hearing,
the Court finds that reasonable cause exists to believe that
the Defendant may presently be suffering from a mental
disease or defect that renders her mentally incompetent to
the extent that she is unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceedings against her or to assist
properly in her defense. The Court concludes that reasonable
cause exists to warrant a mental examination and evaluation
of the Defendant under 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Accordingly,
the Court GRANTS the Defendant's motion [Doc. 553] that
the Defendant undergo a competency evaluation. It is hereby
ORDERED, pursuant to Title 18, Sections 4241(b), 4247(b) and
4247(c), of the United States Code, as follows:
(1) The Defendant shall remain in custody to await
designation for confinement in a suitable facility for the
purpose of conducting a psychiatric and/or psychological
examination by one or more licensed or certified psychiatric
and clinical psychologists. After designation of the facility
is received, the Defendant shall be transported by the United
States Marshal Service to such facility.
(2) The purpose of the evaluation shall be for one or more
licensed or certified psychiatrists and/or clinical
psychologists to conduct psychiatric and psychological
examinations of the Defendant for the purpose of determining
whether the Defendant is suffering from a mental disease or
defect rendering her mentally incompetent to the extent that
she is unable to understand the nature and consequences of
the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her
(3) The Defendant is to submit to such examinations as
(4) The Defendant shall be given any necessary medications if
determined appropriate by the medical staff at the facility.
(5) The examiner and/or examiners designated to conduct such
examinations shall, pursuant to Title 18, United States Code,
Section 4247(c), file with the Court, as soon as possible
after the completion of such examination, a report of the
examination with copies provided to counsel for the Defendant
and counsel for the United States, and said report shall
(a) the Defendant's history and present symptoms;
(b) a description of the psychiatric, psychological and
medical tests that were ...