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State v. Davis

Court of Criminal Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

December 11, 2017

STATE OF TENNESSEE
v.
ZACHARY EVERETT DAVIS

          Assigned on Briefs June 27, 2017

         Appeal from the Criminal Court for Sumner County No. 754-2014 Dee David Gay, Judge

         When he was fifteen years old, the Defendant, Zachary Everett Davis, killed his mother by hitting her in the head with a sledgehammer numerous times and attempted to kill his brother by setting the family's residence on fire. After determining that the Defendant was competent to stand trial, the juvenile court transferred the Defendant's case to the Sumner County Criminal Court. The Sumner County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant on charges of first degree premeditated murder, attempted first degree premeditated murder, and aggravated arson. After a competency hearing, the trial court determined that the Defendant was competent to stand trial. After a suppression hearing, the trial court concluded that the Defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his rights prior to an interview conducted by the Sumner County Sheriff's Office. A Sumner County jury found the Defendant guilty as charged, and the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve a life sentence for his first degree murder conviction. After a sentencing hearing, the trial court ordered the Defendant to serve twenty years with a thirty percent release eligibility for attempted first degree murder and twenty years with a 100% release eligibility for aggravated arson; the trial court ordered the twenty-year sentences to run concurrently with each other but consecutively to the Defendant's life sentence. On appeal, the Defendant argues that the trial court erred in: (1) denying the Defendant's motions to be declared incompetent; (2) denying the Defendant's motion to suppress his statement to the Sumner County Sheriff's Office; (3) denying the Defendant's motion for mistrial after the Defendant testified on direct and cross-examination that he did not commit the offense; and (4) sentencing the Defendant to a de facto sentence of life without parole in violation of the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. After a thorough review of the record and applicable case law, we affirm.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgments of the Criminal Court Affirmed

          Randy P. Lucas, Gallatin, Tennessee, for the appellant, Zachary Everett Davis.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter; M. Todd Ridley, Assistant Attorney General; Lawrence Ray Whitley, District Attorney General; and Tara A. Wyllie, Assistant District Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee.

          Robert L. Holloway, Jr., J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., and Camille R. McMullen, JJ., joined. D. Kelly Thomas, Jr., J., filed a separate concurring opinion, in which Camille R. McMullen, J., joined.

          OPINION

          ROBERT L. HOLLOWAY, JR., JUDGE.

         I. Factual and Procedural Background

         On the evening of August 10, 2012, the Defendant hit his mother in the head with a sledgehammer approximately eight to fifteen times, lit a fire in his residence's "game room, " and left his residence with his deceased mother and his older brother still inside. In the early morning hours of August 11, 2012, the Sumner County Sheriff's Office apprehended the Defendant and took him into custody. After being informed of his rights, the Defendant confessed to killing his mother and setting his residence on fire by using whiskey as an accelerant. On August 13, 2012, the State filed a petition with the juvenile court charging the Defendant with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated arson and filed a petition to transfer the Defendant's case to the Sumner County Criminal Court. On August 14, 2012, the Defendant filed a motion requesting a forensic evaluation, which the juvenile court ordered. On September 11, 2012, the juvenile court held a hearing on the Defendant's competency and determined that the Defendant was competent. On September 18, 2012, the juvenile court conducted a transfer hearing and transferred the Defendant's case to the Sumner County Criminal Court. The Sumner County Grand Jury indicted the Defendant for first degree premeditated murder, attempted first degree premeditated murder, and aggravated arson on October 4, 2012.

         Competency Hearing

         During a competency hearing conducted January 13, 2014, Dr. Sandra Phillips testified that she worked as the forensic services coordinator for Volunteer Behavioral Health, where she evaluated defendants to determine whether they are competent to stand trial and whether they qualified for an insanity or diminished capacity defense. She explained that, if she cannot make a determination, then she "recommend[s] an inpatient evaluation at one of the regional mental health institutes." After the trial court declared Dr. Phillips an expert in forensic psychology, she testified that she evaluated the Defendant several times, first under the juvenile court's jurisdiction and later after his case was transferred to the trial court. Dr. Phillips testified that, after each time she evaluated the Defendant, she determined that he was incompetent to stand trial. During her evaluation of the Defendant under the juvenile court's jurisdiction, Dr. Phillips conducted a clinical interview and administered the adolescent edition of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory test to the Defendant. She also administered the Shipley Institute for Living Scales test and "read a variety of legal documents[, ]" including the juvenile court petition and reports from law enforcement officers. Dr. Phillips also interviewed the following individuals: Gayle Cron, the Defendant's grandmother; Ryan Voss, the Defendant's eighth-grade social studies teacher; Emily Reyes, the Defendant's ninth-grade teacher; Chris Burgett, the Student Resource Officer for the Defendant's school; and a nurse from the Sumner County Jail. Dr. Phillips also looked at the Defendant's school records, his journal, and a report from Youth Villages. Dr. Phillips spent approximately seven hours with the Defendant during her initial observation for the juvenile court, and she spent an additional two hours with him for her evaluation for the trial court.

         Dr. Phillips testified that the Defendant was psychotic, which she defined as a range of symptoms "that would tend to render a person not in good contact with what we would call reality and so forth."[1] She stated that psychosis also "include[s] cognitive symptoms such as unclear thinking [or] confused thinking." Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant informed her that he heard voices, and she noted that records indicated that the Defendant "heard these voices for years[.]" Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant "seem[ed] to resist doing what [the voices] say[, ]" but she noted that "that's not exclusively true." She stated that the Defendant had spoken in a "flat manner" since he entered middle school. Dr. Phillips also stated that the Defendant had been delusional and "had beliefs about the guards at the jail trying to poison him or trying to otherwise hurt him, " which Dr. Phillips believed were not based on reality. Dr. Phillips concluded that the Defendant was not "malingering" because he heard voices "long before there ever was a death in his family." She also noted that the Defendant's symptoms showed "a resounding consistency" and that the Defendant's description of the voices he heard was consistent with the descriptions of individuals diagnosed with psychosis and were "nondramatic." Dr. Phillips explained that an individual who is trying to malinger "typically gives you a very exaggerated view of their symptoms and is not consistent with the way that other people do that . . . are psychotic."

         Dr. Phillips stated that she had not "seen anyone in [her] [thirty-six]-years-plus experience who functions the way [the Defendant] does who is not autistic." She noted that "[t]he divide line between [the Defendant's] emotions and his thoughts [was] extremely, extremely deep, " which "ma[de] it very hard for him to reach rational decisions and so forth." Dr. Phillips believed that the Defendant did not understand "the jeopardy of his situation" because, although he could explain what might happen in his case, "he ha[d] no emotional reaction to these sorts of things." Dr. Phillips explained that she initially diagnosed the Defendant as suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"). However, she explained that "[t]he finding of [PTSD] depends upon having experienced a traumatic event" and that the Defendant claimed he was raped by his brother. She stated that the Defendant believed that this incident happened; however, she could not confirm whether the incident occurred and thus could not confirm a diagnosis of PTSD. Dr. Phillips also testified that, although the death of the Defendant's father was traumatic for the Defendant, it did not meet the qualifications of PTSD because it was not "outside the experience of most human beings." Dr. Phillips also testified that the Defendant suffered from major depression. She stated that, as a sixteen-year old, the Defendant did not have the same coping skills as an adult. Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant had very little interaction with other people and his thoughts were becoming more "internal."

         Regarding her prior evaluations of the Defendant, Dr. Phillips stated that, when she evaluated the Defendant for the juvenile court and when she evaluated him in October 2012, she determined he was not competent. Then, the Defendant moved to Middle Tennessee Mental Health Institute ("MTMHI") and received "competency training." The staff at MTMHI believed the Defendant was competent, and he returned to the Sumner County Jail on November 28, 2012. Dr. Phillips stated that she had visited the Defendant ten times since he returned to the Sumner County Jail and that she never believed that he was competent because the Defendant did not have "sufficient present ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational understanding."

         Regarding the standard of competency set out in State v. Blackstock, 19 S.W.3d 200 (Tenn. 2000), Dr. Phillips stated that "in general, " the Defendant's "strength with respect to competency" was his understanding of the facts of the criminal process, but she also stated that she was "concerned of late as to what his retention [was] of certain aspects that were not well learned before all this matter came to light." She explained that, while the Defendant understood that he was charged with criminal offenses and the role of trial counsel, she believed that the Defendant was "having declining memory." She also stated that the Defendant was unable to assist in his defense because the Defendant was unable "to think of his legal situation in a dispassionate, logical, rational manner" and because the Defendant was distracted by the voices that he heard, particularly that of his deceased father. She noted that the Defendant did not "probably appreciate[] all the legal jeopardy, what it would mean to be in prison for life." She also noted that she spoke with the Defendant the morning of the hearing and that he did not understand "that the district attorney [was] acting as a prosecutor." She explained that she and other mental health professionals had explained the roles of the prosecutors and the judge to the Defendant probably twenty to forty times, but the Defendant was still confused about the roles of those individuals. Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant's inability to remember and understand things like the prosecutor's role in his case was not related to his intelligence or a developmental issue.

         Regarding the Defendant's ability to communicate with trial counsel, Dr. Phillips testified that the Defendant did not have "sufficient ability to consult with counsel, " nor was he able to assist in the preparation of his defense. She stated that the Defendant was not able to sufficiently communicate with trial counsel because of cognitive issues, communication issues, hearing voices, and his lack of concern. Dr. Phillips explained that the Defendant spoke in a "low monotone[, ]" "[t]he cadence of his speech never varie[d], " and "his affect [was] absolutely flat[.]" She also noted that the Defendant did not volunteer helpful information when he spoke with others. She explained that, when she asked the Defendant a straightforward question, he told her that he did not understand what she was asking. Dr. Phillips believed that the Defendant's ability to communicate affected his competency because if she had trouble communicating with the Defendant, it was likely that an attorney would have difficulty communicating with him. She also noted that the Defendant "d[id] not have that much invested in the outcome" of his case, which could affect his competency because he was not "particularly motivated to come up with other sorts of helpful information to his attorney." While the Defendant had "consistently" informed Dr. Phillips that he did not want to "serve so much time in prison, " she believed that the Defendant did not appreciate the difference between a sentence of five years and a sentence of fifty years. She also noted that juveniles typically do not understand the passage of time like adults do.

         On cross-examination, Dr. Phillips agreed that a person's lack of concern for the outcome of his case did not, in itself, make that person incompetent to stand trial. She noted that, when she initially evaluated the Defendant under the juvenile court's order, the Defendant gave her "a moment to moment account of what happened" and later gave her information regarding his background and family history. However, she stated that, when she learned "much later" that the Defendant heard voices, she asked him why he did not tell her about the voices, and he stated that he did not trust her enough to tell her. She explained that the Defendant's lack of trust affected his ability to communicate with trial counsel because she was concerned that the Defendant's decision to not trust her was not rational. She stated that she would have expected the Defendant to share "more about his mental condition, what his thoughts were prior to the alleged offenses, what his thinking was afterwards in terms of what he did, why did he do what he did" with trial counsel. Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant's IQ score was 111, and she noted that scores between ninety and 110 were "average[.]"

         When the trial court asked Dr. Phillips about the Defendant's ability to converse, she stated that the Defendant did not speak unless someone asked him a question. She noted that he responded to questions, but he frequently stated that he did not understand the question. When the trial court asked Dr. Phillips if the Defendant could become competent to stand trial, she stated that "it would certainly help if he were able to interact with other individuals[.]" Dr. Phillips recommended moving the Defendant to a hospital and that "a number of psychiatrists should consult about the issue of medication[.]" Dr. Phillips also recommended that an autism expert evaluate the Defendant. Lastly, Dr. Phillips noted that, while the Defendant generally spoke with a flat affect, he would occasionally "put his head down, look to the side, and he w[ould] give a big grin, and he may even laugh a little bit." She noted that "most [of the] times when he d[id] it, it [was] entirely inappropriate to whatever someone [wa]s talking about." She explained that this inappropriate laughter was another indicator of psychosis.

         On redirect examination, Dr. Phillips stated that the Defendant's conversation style was not typical because his tone of voice lacked spontaneity, he did not initiate conversation, his eye contact was inconsistent, and he lacked "body language." She stated that she did not believe that the Defendant's reticence to answer questions was due to his stubbornness because he "comes across as extremely polite, compliant even[.]" Dr. Phillips believed that the fact that the Defendant had been speaking with a flat affect for many years could indicate that he had a chronic illness that had not been treated. She stated that it was her understanding that the Defendant had previously received mental health treatment, but she was unable to obtain the records from his previous treatment. Although the Defendant was able to describe the events of the offenses to law enforcement during his initial interview, Dr. Phillips did not believe that the Defendant's ability to describe the event meant he was also competent to stand trial; she stated that the Defendant also "need[ed] to be able to describe what was going on in his head, what he was thinking, how long had he been thinking it, how he was feeling, " which the Defendant had not done.

         Dr. Bradley Freeman testified that he was a psychiatrist in the department of forensic services and the child and adolescent department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The trial court admitted Dr. Freeman as an expert in forensic psychology and adolescent psychiatry. Dr. Freeman conducted a forensic evaluation of the Defendant; he interviewed the Defendant, reviewed documentation such as police records, school records, and historical records, the Defendant's treatment records from MTMHI, and the Defendant's personal writings. Dr. Freeman stated that he first interviewed the Defendant on August 7, 2013 and noted that the Defendant "seemed to be somewhat resistant to [Dr. Freeman] interviewing him" and that the Defendant "offer[ed] very limited responses to a variety of questions." Dr. Freeman stated that, in all of his interviews with the Defendant, the Defendant "never varied in his speech or posture or presentation throughout the interview[, ]" which Dr. Freeman found to be odd. Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant reported hearing voices, particularly the voice of the Defendant's deceased father. Dr. Freeman also noted that his interaction with the Defendant was unlike many of his clients because Dr. Freeman interviewed the Defendant at the request of the Defendant's trial counsel, yet the Defendant "was still unwilling to divulge or give much information about the history that [Dr. Freeman] was asking him." Dr. Freeman believed that the Defendant's reluctance to divulge information was not due to stubbornness; he thought that the Defendant may have been "paranoid or concerned about [Dr. Freeman's] motives in interviewing him."

         Dr. Freeman also watched the Defendant's interrogation interview and visited the Defendant twice while he was housed at the Sumner County Jail. He described the Defendant as "distant, robotic, unemotional, and suspicious." Based on the DSM-5, [2] Dr. Freeman believed that the Defendant met the criteria for schizophrenia and mood or depressive disorder. Based upon his evaluations, Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant was not competent to stand trial at that time. Regarding the Blackstock standard of competency, Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant understood that he was charged with criminal offenses and that he could go to trial for those charges; however, Dr. Freeman was "not sure that [the Defendant] fully underst[ood] the severity of the potential outcomes[.]" Dr. Freeman did not believe that the Defendant had "the ability to fully consult with his attorney" due to "his mental illness and his guarded nature." Dr. Freeman described the Defendant's ability to communicate as the following:

Typically, when a client talks with their attorney, they have a conversation about pros and cons and what to do and strategy. [The Defendant] does not interact that way with me or with his attorney, from what his attorney has told me.
I ask [the Defendant] questions about, you know, has he thought about how the trial might ensue, and he basically responds, "I don't know." And he'll do that repeatedly, even with small questions or questions that should be fairly easily answered. He just has difficulty communicating the entire picture to me and to his attorney, I would imagine.

         Dr. Freeman concluded that this difficulty to communicate would impact the Defendant's ability to create a defense; he stated that the Defendant's communication was not "spontaneous enough or adequate enough to really build a meaningful defense or really to work with his attorney."

         Dr. Freeman also stated that the Defendant was not able to participate in his own defense; however, Dr. Freeman was unsure of what prevented the Defendant "from being more open and candid and offering information spontaneously about the case to assist in his defense." Dr. Freeman explained that the Defendant did not fully understand the concept of plea bargaining. During his evaluation of the Defendant, Dr. Freeman offered the Defendant several scenarios, such as a defendant going to trial where the evidence was heavily weighted in favor of their guilt or their innocence. Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant "wasn't really interested in what evidence there was or wasn't[, ]" but the Defendant was interested "in the idea that if someone . . . actually did something, then they should just plead guilty for it and be done with it." Dr. Freeman believed that this showed that the Defendant was "just not interested or motivated to mount much of a defense." Dr. Freeman also noted that the Defendant did not understand the State's burden of proof even after he explained the concept to the Defendant several times. Dr. Freeman was unsure of whether the Defendant could "maintain his focus enough to participate in his defense[.]" The Defendant also had difficulty looking at legal issues or evidence from different perspectives; Dr. Freeman stated that this was "fairly typical of patients that have psychosis" because "[t]hey get stuck with their thoughts." Dr. Freeman also discussed differences between juvenile competency and adult competency and stated that juveniles "don't challenge things when they think that they should."

         Dr. Freeman also testified that the Defendant's symptoms of mental illness included hallucinations, hearing voices, flat affect, depressive symptoms, guardedness and suspiciousness, paranoia, and his communication style. He stated that it was his understanding that the Defendant had spoken with a flat affect for "several years prior to the incident at hand, which [wa]s very concerning." Dr. Freeman noted that MTMHI did not recommend that the Defendant take medication because the staff did not diagnose him with psychosis. In contrast, Dr. Freeman believed that the Defendant was suffering from psychosis, and he explained that psychosis was primarily treated with medication. Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant was currently taking a medication, and he opined that the medication could help the Defendant become competent to stand trial. Dr. Freeman believed that the Defendant was not malingering because his manner of presentation was the same during court proceedings as when Dr. Freeman interviewed the Defendant previously. Dr. Freeman also believed that the Defendant could not "consult rationally with his attorney at th[at] point[, ]" that the Defendant was not "able to adequately assist in his own defense[, ]" but that the Defendant was "able to understand the factual basis of the trial." Dr. Freeman stated that he did not believe that the Defendant was competent to stand trial at that point in time.

         On cross-examination, Dr. Freeman stated that he examined the Defendant on August 7, 2013, August 26, 2013, and September 10, 2013. Dr. Freeman estimated that he spent a total of five or six hours in personal contact with the Defendant during those examinations. Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant told him what offenses he had been charged with and his version of the events underlying the offenses. Dr. Freeman also agreed that the Defendant informed him that the Defendant's father died of "ALS" or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and that the Defendant heard his father's voice telling him to punish his mother and kill his brother. During Dr. Freeman's interview of the Defendant on September 10, 2013, the Defendant informed Dr. Freeman that his brother raped him after he, his mother, and his brother moved from Bowling Green, Kentucky, to Tennessee. Dr. Freeman noted that there was no record that the Defendant had ever been evaluated for "development disorders such as Asperger's [disorder] or autism." Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant's trial counsel observed the September 10 interview and gave Dr. Freeman "some input" during the interview. Dr. Freeman also agreed that the Defendant initially asked to receive the death penalty in a letter to his trial counsel and that the Defendant initially believed that "a life sentence meant being incarcerated [eighty] to [ninety] years." However, Dr. Freeman informed the Defendant that an individual who received a life sentence would be eligible for parole after fifty-one years. The Defendant informed Dr. Freeman that he had previously received mental health treatment at Life Skills, Incorporated ("Life Skills"), but he stopped receiving treatment because his mother was angry with his treatment provider.

         Dr. Freeman also agreed that his evaluation of the Defendant was based in part on the TBI's analysis of the Defendant's electronic devices. Dr. Freeman agreed that the TBI found "heterosexual pornographic videos, music videos, video clips about a variety of assault weapons, and various audio files that appeared to be sound clips" on the electronic devices and that one of the music videos was of a song by Eminem that referenced the suicide of "a murderer who has no real memory of the crime[.]" Dr. Freeman also agreed that the pornography did not contain "masochistic or sadistic themes[.]" Because he could not confirm that the Defendant had sole access to the electronic devices, Dr. Freeman "didn't give [the evidence] as much weight as [he] could have if [he] had known that that was something that [the Defendant] only had access to." Dr. Freeman agreed that the TBI discovered that someone had accessed websites containing information about recent murders, "[v]ideo game cheats, pornography, [and] an article about the signs, symptoms, and diagnoses of schizophrenia[.]" Regarding his review of the Defendant's personal writings, Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant's letter to his grandparents, which he wrote in his "jail journal" in October 2012, reflected rational and appropriate thoughts, such as indicating that the Defendant liked his grandparents' visits. Dr. Freeman agreed that as a part of his evaluation, he considered a note from January 9, 2008, in the Defendant's mental health records from Life Skills that stated that the Defendant's mother informed Life Skills that the Defendant "was drawing graphic cartoons of people being blown up and heads cut off, etcetera, and that she took him off of Zoloft." Dr. Freeman explained that this note "did not have much of an impact on [his] overall opinion only because [he] had very little information about that particular note in the chart." However, Dr. Freeman stated a note from Life Skills stating that the Defendant "was obsessed with death before his father fell ill" was "concerning."

         Regarding the Defendant's observation, after discussions with trial counsel, that he could receive a life sentence with the possibility of parole, Dr. Freeman stated that this observation was "more factual than it [wa]s really rational" because the Defendant was stating "what someone in that position could get for those offenses." Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant could communicate factual responses to questions, but he stated that the Defendant had "trouble abstracting."[3] Dr. Freeman also agreed that the Defendant initially believed that "both the jury and the judge determine whether a defendant is guilty or innocent." Dr. Freeman informed the Defendant about the role of the jury, and the Defendant then stated that the trial court could convict or release a defendant. Dr. Freeman stated that these discussions showed that the Defendant knew "the court process[, ]" but he disagreed that the Defendant's response was rational. Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant understood that the role of a defense attorney was to "help protect the case of a person [who was] legally inept[, ]" and the Defendant was "unsure why somebody fluent in the legal system would need a defense attorney." Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant's statement that "being dishonest with his attorney could cause problems, and [that] it might result in unfair punishment" was a logical statement. Dr. Freeman explained that the Defendant "has moments where he is a little bit more clear" and that psychosis can "fluctuate."

         Regarding the Defendant's belief that "the jury's role was to influence the judge's decision about guilt or not[, ]" Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant's belief was reasonable. Regarding the Defendant's statement that a plea bargain was "a guilty plea in which you can agree to a reduced sentence[, ]" Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant's statement occurred after Dr. Freeman educated him about the plea bargaining process. He stated that the Defendant "does have the capacity to understand[, ]" but the Defendant was "not able to consistently express that." Dr. Freeman explained that, when he interviewed the Defendant ten days before the competency hearing, the Defendant was "not able to come up with the purpose of plea bargaining." Dr. Freeman stated that, after he educated the Defendant about the court process, the Defendant "was able to repeat what [Dr. Freeman] had said[, ]" but the Defendant only incorporated the information "for short periods of time."

         Dr. Freeman stated that trial counsel had reported difficulties communicating with the Defendant and that Dr. Freeman had observed these difficulties. Dr. Freeman explained that the Defendant was "not the type of client or individual that w[ould] spontaneously give you information or think about things to consider in the course of his defense." Dr. Freeman also stated that, when he asked the Defendant open-ended questions, the Defendant frequently stated that he did not know, he could not remember, or that he did not understand the question. However, Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant "was able to understand what [Dr. Freeman] communicated to him and he can repeat that back . . . ."

         Dr. Freeman explained that the Defendant could not adequately assist in the preparation of his defense, despite his ability to give details of the offenses to Dr. Freeman and trial counsel. While the Defendant could provide the information "for a limited time, " Dr. Freeman believed that the Defendant could not "process enough and volunteer enough and work with [trial counsel] enough to really mount a defense that is sufficient." Dr. Freeman stated that, to help prepare his defense, the Defendant could share his "thoughts on what he wants to do, " but the Defendant "didn't really have much of an understanding about what could happen[, ]" outside of his knowledge that his case could proceed to trial. Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant "essentially had no response" to Dr. Freeman's question of "what [the Defendant] would like to see happen after the end of this hearing."

         Regarding his diagnosis of the Defendant as suffering from paranoid-type schizophrenia, Dr. Freeman explained that:

the classic idea of schizophrenia is the downward spiral. That's when symptoms start to develop when they are younger. Typically, the first break is when they are in their late teens or early 20's, and they have more and more difficulty as that disease progresses and their functionality declines with that increase in symptoms.

         He also observed that, "initially, when people have their first break, it could be very dramatic and people can end up in the hospital or there can be subtle signs of what [is] call[ed] a prodrome, which proceeds the onset of the disorder." Dr. Freeman noted that prodrome "looks like depression for most patients" and that the individuals have "negative symptoms" that "predominate"; negative symptoms include "depressed affect, withdrawal, isolation, poor communication with others, restriction of their activities." Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant stated that he began hearing voices after his father's death, which helped support the diagnosis of paranoid-type schizophrenia. He also noted that "individuals that have been traumatized or individuals that have undergone significant change, for instance, the death of a father, could experience a depression that has some of those psychotic features as well."

         After agreeing that the DSM-TR-4 stated that flat or inappropriate affect was not a prominent feature or symptom of paranoid-type schizophrenia, Dr. Freeman noted that the typical symptoms for a mental illness might not apply to every individual. He stated that the Defendant had a "psychotic process" that he believed was "primarily a paranoid type" because he "had been told that [the Defendant] believed that he was going to be raped at the jail or murdered at the jail [and] that he did have auditory hallucinations." Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant's symptoms "were consistently genuine psychosis." Dr. Freeman agreed that an individual with paranoid type schizophrenia could be competent to stand trial. He explained that "[t]here are individuals that function quite well with schizophrenia as long as they're on medication and under the appropriate treatment." Dr. Freeman stated that some of the Defendant's personal writings expressed logical thoughts but stated that the writings were consistent with an individual diagnosed with paranoid-type schizophrenia. Dr. Freeman stated that it was possible that the Defendant was competent when he wrote a letter to his brother in October 2012, but he was not competent at the time of the hearing. Dr. Freeman noted that, in the letter, the Defendant advised his brother to obtain a job to earn money and advised against doing drugs; Dr. Freeman agreed that these were logical thoughts.

         Regarding the Defendant's ability to function in society, Dr. Freeman noted that the Defendant's grades in school decreased, he was "more isolative[, ]" "his affect was flat, [and] his speech was monotone." Dr. Freeman also explained that "genuine hallucinations don't typically happen continuously throughout the day" and that the Defendant's hallucinations occurred "when he's alone at night, primarily, getting ready for bed, and when things are quiet." Dr. Freeman also noted that the guidance counselor at the Defendant's school informed him that the Defendant was one of seven students "out of a census of 800 at the school" who most concerned her. Dr. Freeman suspected that the Defendant's "concerning behaviors that people had identified prior to this incident" were part of the Defendant's prodrome into psychosis.

         Dr. Freeman saw the Defendant on January 3, 2014, and again the morning before the hearing began. Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant was not "getting any better" and that the Defendant was "a little bit more isolative." Regarding the Defendant's ability to become competent, Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant "would do better in a hospital setting" and should be treated with medication to improve his symptoms and functioning. Dr. Freeman also stated that the Defendant should "continue to be involved in some type of therapy that could be provided in the hospital setting to help with his depressive features." He agreed that a six-month treatment period would be a reasonable period to determine whether the Defendant could become competent.

         On redirect examination, Dr. Freeman noted that individuals "with psychosis or delusions can sometimes communicate very well." Dr. Freeman also explained that individuals on the autism spectrum may have "splinter skills[, ] where they excel in certain areas but are drastically deficient in other areas." Dr. Freeman stated that, if the Defendant did not receive mental health treatment, the Defendant "would have trouble operating at [a] level to consider plea bargains and make those decisions over a period of time." He believed that the Defendant's lack of ability to think abstractly was "partly due to his diagnosis and the treatment of his diagnosis" and that his difficulty in thinking abstractly made it more difficult for the Defendant to communicate with trial counsel and assist in his defense because the Defendant was unable "to think about things from different perspectives and hypothesize what could happen in certain scenarios[.]" Dr. Freeman stated that the Defendant's intelligence was "at least average." He testified that the Defendant's long-term memory may be affected because the Defendant was able to repeat what he had learned at the end of his interviews with Dr. Freeman, yet the Defendant had "difficulty in between sessions remembering that information, " which would also make it difficult for the Defendant to adequately communicate with trial counsel or assist in the preparation of his defense.

         On recross-examination, Dr. Freeman explained that the Defendant was not using abstract thinking when he composed his school essays[4] on why he skipped class because the essays were "more along the lines of reiterating things that have happened concretely in the past." However, Dr. Freeman agreed that the Defendant's essays showed abstract thinking when he mentioned a need for substitute teachers to assist the teachers and students in his classes. Dr. Freeman also agreed that the Defendant used abstract thinking in his letter to his brother. When the trial court asked Dr. Freeman if the Defendant's current solitary confinement in the Sumner County Jail affected his mental health, Dr. Freeman stated that solitary confinement was a barrier to the Defendant's improvement.

         Dr. Rokeya Farooque testified that she was a forensic psychiatrist in the forensic service program at MTMHI and that she conducted court-ordered evaluations for forensic patients in Tennessee. After the trial court admitted Dr. Farooque as an expert in forensic psychiatry and adolescent forensic psychiatry, she testified that she examined the Defendant when he was admitted to MTMHI for an inpatient forensic evaluation from October 30, 2012 to November 28, 2012 under the trial court's order based on Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-301(a).[5] Dr. Farooque stated that she, along with a psychologist and a social worker, observed the Defendant once a day and that the nursing staff in the inpatient unit left notes updating her on the Defendant's condition in her absence. She ensured that the Defendant understood the charges against him, what could happen if he was found guilty, and the length of possible prison sentences, such as a life sentence. She also asked the Defendant about the offenses and about his relationship with trial counsel. Dr. Farooque noted that she and the other mental health professionals at MTMHI reviewed information from "the outside agencies" before making a conclusion regarding the Defendant's competency. After evaluating the Defendant during this period, Dr. Farooque concluded that the Defendant was competent to stand trial, that the Defendant understood the nature and purpose of court proceedings and the role of different individuals in those proceedings, and that the Defendant was capable of communicating with trial counsel and assisting in the preparation of his defense.

         Dr. Farooque testified that the Defendant was admitted to MTMHI for a second evaluation under Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-301(a) from February 14, 2013 to March 8, 2013, and she again concluded that the Defendant was competent to stand trial after this second evaluation. During this evaluation period, the Defendant told Dr. Farooque that he believed the guards at the Sumner County Jail were attempting to harm him. However, Dr. Farooque did not prescribe any medication for the Defendant to help with these delusions because the Defendant did not continue to complain about the delusions. When Dr. Phillips and the Defendant's trial counsel expressed concern about the Defendant's condition and when the Defendant began saving his medication to possibly attempt to overdose, Dr. Farooque determined that the Defendant needed to be admitted to MTMHI for a longer period of time. Therefore, under Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-301(b), [6] the Defendant was again admitted to MTMHI from March 15, 2013 to October 3, 2013. During this period, Dr. Farooque spoke with the Defendant about his mental condition, and the Defendant attended group competency therapy. After her third evaluation of the Defendant, Dr. Farooque again concluded that he was competent to stand trial. Dr. Farooque stated that "[s]ometimes [the Defendant's] features [were] odd" because the Defendant's presentation did not reflect any emotion and he spoke in a monotone manner, but she stated that those features did not factor into her competency evaluation.

         Dr. Farooque spoke with the Defendant before the competency hearing, and she did not observe anything that changed her conclusion. She noted that the Defendant began taking Risperdal, the medication that Dr. Freeman suggested, a few days before the hearing, but the Defendant had not noticed any effect yet. Dr. Farooque also noted that she spoke with him about the concept of plea bargaining during this visit, and the Defendant explained to her that a plea bargain was a plea for a lesser sentence. Dr. Farooque asked the Defendant whether he would accept a plea offer for ten to fifteen years from the State, and the Defendant said he would. The Defendant also informed Dr. Farooque that he occasionally heard voices during the night. Dr. Farooque could not explain why the Defendant sometimes reported hearing voices and sometimes did not report hearing voices. She stated that at the Defendant's age, sixteen, "sometimes it's normal to hear voices, but those are very transient . . . [and] very less [sic] serious, " but Dr. Farooque could not confirm that he was psychotic. Dr. Farooque stated that the Defendant "never behaved inappropriately" but also acknowledged that when the Defendant was first admitted to MTMHI, he laughed inappropriately. Dr. Farooque noted that the inappropriate laughter "went away" after a few weeks without treatment. Dr. Farooque stated that the Defendant's statement in his letter to his brother that he wanted to work while he was in prison to support his family showed that the Defendant understood what could happen to him in the future. Dr. Farooque also stated that she had never observed that the Defendant had issues with his memory.

         Regarding Dr. Phillips' conclusion that the Defendant suffered from psychosis, not otherwise specified, Dr. Farooque noted that the DSM-5 did not recognize the "not otherwise specified" diagnosis. She also noted that the DSM-5 did not recognize a multi-axis diagnosis, such as Dr. Freeman's diagnosis of "Axis I, schizophrenia, paranoid type[.]" Dr. Farooque disagreed with Dr. Freeman's diagnosis of paranoid-type schizophrenia because schizophrenia was "a very serious mental disease[, ]" and individuals with schizophrenia were "not able to form their thoughts in their head." She explained that individuals typically developed schizophrenia in late adolescence or early twenties. Dr. Farooque noted that a juvenile's symptoms of schizophrenia could develop insidiously or quickly. However, individuals could also develop "early onset schizophrenia" between the ages of thirteen to seventeen or "very early onset schizophrenia" before the age of thirteen. Dr. Farooque stated that individuals with these types of schizophrenia "cannot function[, ]" "cannot form their thoughts[, ]" and "cannot progress." Dr. Farooque concluded that the Defendant did not suffer from early onset or very early onset schizophrenia because he "was making good grades" and "was not having any problems" in school before the offense. She noted that in the "report from the school teachers, nobody described that [the Defendant] was that . . . mentally sick." Dr. Farooque also noted that the Defendant showed good writing skills and that he had friends.

         Dr. Farooque also believed that the Defendant was not suffering from Asperger's disorder; she explained that Asperger's disorder typically develops when an individual is two to three years old. However, there was no evidence that the Defendant's "functioning level" was affected when he was two or three years old. Dr. Farooque diagnosed the Defendant with major depressive disorder because the Defendant's father died suddenly when the Defendant was young. Dr. Farooque concluded that the Defendant understood the nature and object of the criminal proceedings, that he was capable of consulting with trial counsel, and that he was able to assist in the preparation of his defense. Accordingly, Dr. Farooque concluded that the Defendant was competent to stand trial.

         On cross-examination, Dr. Farooque testified that she had doubts about whether the Defendant was suffering from psychosis; although "hallucination [was] a psychosis[, ]" she stated that she was not completely sure that the Defendant heard voices. She explained that individuals who hear voices typically act and behave inappropriately and "will cause a problem from hearing voices." She noted that "in [the] forensic setting, [she] always ha[d] to consider whether they really hear[d] voices or they d[id]n't." She noted that some individuals hear voices when they are falling asleep, which was known as a hypnagogic hallucination, or when they are waking up, which was known as a hypnopompic hallucination. Dr. Farooque testified that both of these types of hallucinations are normal. Dr. Farooque stated that she was concerned that the Defendant heard his father's voice telling him to kill his mother and his brother, but she stated that "if he hear[d] voices, that's okay." She stated that the Defendant was not malingering because there was no secondary gain for him to fake symptomology.

         Dr. Farooque agreed that she diagnosed the Defendant with major depressive disorder and that depression was a treatable mental illness; she explained that she did not treat the Defendant with medication because her "responsibility was to do the evaluation for the [trial] [c]ourt." She explained that she evaluated the Defendant and gave a recommendation to the mental health center in the Sumner County Jail. She agreed that adolescents do not function well in solitary confinement. Dr. Farooque agreed that she found the Defendant competent to stand trial after his second stay at MTMHI, and she stated that the Defendant was committed for a third stay because the Defendant attempted to commit suicide. She explained that during his third stay at MTMHI, she spoke with the Defendant and re-evaluated his mental health daily; the Defendant was also observed one-on-one by a staff person.

         When asked about her conclusion that the Defendant did not suffer from Asperger's disorder, Dr. Farooque explained that Asperger's disorder was one form of autism. Dr. Farooque concluded, however, that the Defendant did not suffer from any form of autism, including Asperger's disorder, because "he had many friends when he was in Bowling Green, he had friends when he came to Hendersonville, and then slowly he didn't have that many friends." Dr. Farooque agreed that autism is diagnosed on a spectrum and that some individuals on the autism spectrum cannot function while others function normally. Dr. Farooque testified that the Defendant "has normal conversation skills, but he talks [with a] very low, very low tone[, ]" and she acknowledged that the Defendant speaks slowly and does not elaborate in his answers. She concluded that the Defendant's manner of presentation did not necessarily affect his competency. Dr. Farooque acknowledged that the counselor at the Defendant's school stated that the Defendant was one of the seven most troubled children at the school; however, she stated that the Defendant's grades were good before his father's death and that "[h]e started showing the trouble after his father's death." She agreed that the Defendant had a mental health issue that had gone untreated after the Defendant's family moved to Hendersonville.

         Dr. Farooque explained that the Defendant was admitted to MTMHI under Tennessee Code Annotated section 33-7-301(b) because trial counsel and Dr. Phillips were concerned about the Defendant and the Defendant was found with a piece of razor blade. The Defendant informed Dr. Farooque that he had the razor blade "'to take it to jail so that nobody c[ould] harm [him].'" Dr. Farooque also stated that she considered medicating the Defendant, but he stopped complaining about his symptoms, and "if somebody is psychotic, if he has some problem that he needs the medication, he's going to continue to complain about that."

         Dr. Samuel Craddock testified that he worked in the forensic services unit at MTMHI as a psychologist. After the trial court admitted Dr. Craddock as an expert in forensic psychology, Dr. Craddock stated that he evaluated the Defendant while the Defendant was housed at MTMHI. Dr. Craddock conducted psychological testing on the Defendant, and "the results were essentially similar to what Dr. Phillips had found." Dr. Craddock also discussed the incident report with the Defendant to determine whether the Defendant had a basis to argue for the insanity defense or for diminished capacity. Dr. Craddock "met with [the Defendant] on six different occasions during his first admission, six occasions on his second admission, and then seven times during his third admission." After the Defendant's first period of evaluation, Dr. Craddock concluded that the Defendant "met the requirements [for competency] under the Dusky[7] standard." Dr. Craddock diagnosed the Defendant with major depressive disorder.

         During the Defendant's second admission to MTMHI, Dr. Craddock conducted more testing on the Defendant but primarily assessed the Defendant's competence and "read[] the daily progress notes to see if something was occurring during the time that [Dr. Craddock] hadn't seen him, something that would be inconsistent." Dr. Craddock was also concerned that the Defendant's working memory, which is "the type of information that he has to use that information and process it and give it back[, ]" was not functioning properly. Dr. Craddock also noted that, after he educated the Defendant on the difference between competency and insanity, "there was a day that [the Defendant] seemed to question or couldn't distinguish between mental status at the present time versus mental status at the time of the offense." However, Dr. Craddock stated that the Defendant's memory issue did not affect his conclusion that the Defendant was competent to stand trial.

         During the Defendant's third admittance to MTMHI, Dr. Craddock strictly focused on evaluating the Defendant's competence to stand trial and to determine whether there was any new information that was inconsistent with the information MTMHI had already obtained. Dr. Craddock learned that when the Defendant had been receiving therapy at Life Skills, "he had been medicated with Zoloft for a short while and then stopped." At the end of the third evaluation, Dr. Craddock again determined that the Defendant was competent to stand trial. Dr. Craddock stated that on March 16, 2013, he wrote a memorandum regarding the Defendant's third commitment at MTMHI. He explained that he wrote this memorandum recommending that the Defendant be recommitted to MTMHI because while the Defendant was housed in the Sumner County Jail, "he was doing some strange things. He would propose that maybe there was something in the vent, either he was being watched -- and expressed a paranoid thought about maybe people were out to hurt him [or] take his life." Dr. Craddock noted that it was not MTMHI's "desire to medicate people during this period of evaluation because [MTMHI] may not be seeing the true colors and be accused of not doing a good evaluation." Dr. Craddock testified that the Defendant was released to the Sumner County Jail after his third evaluation at MTMHI because he was competent to stand trial and "was no longer expressing intentions of harming himself."

         Dr. Craddock believed that the Defendant understood the nature and object of the criminal proceedings and that the Defendant knew "who his attorney [wa]s, what the role of his attorney [wa]s, the role of the prosecutor, the judge, the jury, and so forth, and how the adjudication process plays out to determine someone's guilt or innocence." Dr. Craddock also believed that the Defendant was able to consult with trial counsel. He stated that "there's no argument that [the Defendant] doesn't communicate as though an attorney would hope that his client would, " but Dr. Craddock did not "see [any] mental illness that [wa]s prohibiting [the Defendant] from conversing with his attorney if he so cho[se]." Dr. Craddock also concluded that the Defendant was able to assist in the preparation of his defense. Dr. Craddock stated that the Defendant seemed receptive to trial counsel's trial strategy and had not mentioned any belief that he would receive an unfair trial.

         Dr. Craddock testified that the Defendant had "added information" to his version of the events underlying the offenses, and Dr. Craddock noted a minor inconsistency in the Defendant's story[8] but stated that the substance of the Defendant's story did not change over the course of his three evaluations at MTMHI. Dr. Craddock stated that the Defendant had "some features [that] an autistic person would have[, ]" but he concluded that the Defendant was not on the autism spectrum because autism typically developed when the individual was three to four years old. He explained that, if the Defendant were autistic, "he wouldn't have been placed in a regular classroom and be[en] able to handle himself outside at all." Dr. Craddock did not agree with Dr. Freeman's ...


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