United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. BROOMES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter came before the court on February 13, 2019, for a
hearing on Defendant's Motion to Appoint New Counsel
(Doc. 34), and for a hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §
4247(d) to determine Defendant's competency to stand
trial. For the reasons stated at the hearing, and as
supplemented in this order, Defendant's Motion to Appoint
New Counsel (Doc. 34) is DENIED and the court finds that
Defendant is competent to stand trial.
filed a motion on September 21, 2018, to determine
Defendant's competence to stand trial. (Doc. 38). The
motion requested an order for a mental examination and a
hearing to determine competency. The court granted the motion
after a hearing. Based on its inquiry, the court found
reasonable cause to believe Defendant may be suffering from a
mental disease or defect that may make him unable to assist
properly in his defense. (Doc. 41.) The court ordered
Defendant to be transported to a federal medical center as
designated by the Federal Bureau of Prisons for examination
by a BOP examiner. (Id. at 2.) The order directed
the examiner to prepare and file the report of the findings
pursuant to § 4247(b).
examination was performed by Samantha Shelton, Psy. D. The
report was received by the court on January 22, 2019. The
parties agreed to the admission of the report during the
competency hearing and it will be filed on the docket.
court has reviewed the report of Dr. Shelton. Dr.
Shelton's report extensively reviews Defendant's
education, employment, medical, and mental health history.
Dr. Shelton notes that Plaintiff was diagnosed with Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger's
Syndrome [Autism Spectrum Disorder] during childhood. Dr.
Shelton opined that Defendant was not experiencing any major
mood disturbances and determined that his Autism Spectrum
Disorder was mild. Dr. Shelton further observed that
Defendant did not exhibit observable symptoms to meet the
criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorder but that his
well-documented history supported the diagnosis. Based on the
evaluation and medical information, Dr. Shelton determined
that Defendant had the following diagnosis: Autism Spectrum
Disorder; Cannabis Use; and Adult Antisocial Behavior.
Shelton administered various tests, including the Wechsler
Abbreviated Scale of Intelligence (WASI-II) and the Minnesota
Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2). Notably,
Defendant's test scores reflect that he has the ability
to reason based on learned information. Dr. Shelton compared
his test results with previous tests that Defendant had taken
in August 2018 and determined that Defendant's
intellectual functioning was within the low average range.
Defendant's conduct during his time in the institution
was also evaluated. Defendant interacted appropriately with
other inmates, engaged in appropriate communication, and
understood and responded to questions from the evaluator.
Shelton concluded that there was no objective evidence to
indicate that Defendant suffers from a major mental disorder
that would impair his ability to understand the nature and
consequences of the court proceedings or his ability to
assist in his defense. Defendant displayed a stable mental
status throughout the evaluation and adequate understanding
of basic legal concepts and skills. Defendant was attentive
and able to concentrate during hours of evaluation. Dr.
Shelton concluded that Defendant is fully competent to
understand the nature and consequences of the court
proceedings and assist defense counsel in his defense.
was placed under oath and the court questioned Defendant
regarding Defendant's examination and ability to
understand the proceedings. In response to inquiries by the
court, Defendant stated that he understood the charges and
the potential sentence. Defendant stated that he had
discussed the statutory range and his potential guideline
sentencing range with his attorney. Defendant responded upon
inquiry that he is able to think more clearly now that he has
not been using marijuana. The court also discussed
Defendant's motion to appoint counsel. In the motion,
Defendant addressed his concerns with the proposed plea
agreement and the factual basis. The motion also discusses
the evidence in this case, including a video of the incident
and the involvement of a co-defendant. This suggests that
Defendant is able to understand the nature of the charges.
Defendant's motion also suggests that he has been active
in his defense based on his communications with his attorney.
court concludes that the opinions in Dr. Shelton's report
are well-founded and that the totality of the report, as well
as the court's observations and discussion with
Defendant, show by a preponderance of the evidence that
Defendant is able to understand the nature and consequences
of the proceedings against him and is able to properly assist
in his defense. See 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d)
(preponderance standard governs competency determination.)
The court therefore finds Defendant is competent to stand
Motion to Appoint Counsel
has moved to appoint new counsel on the basis that there is a
conflict of interest. (Doc. 34.) The court held a hearing on
Defendant's motion. During the hearing, the court
conducted an examination of Defendant regarding his motion.
For a portion of that hearing, the court closed the courtroom
to the public and excluded the government, but
Defendant's counsel ...