The opinion of the court was delivered by: Bua, District Judge.
Petitioner, Jose Mireles, was convicted of the offense of
murder following a jury trial in the Circuit Court of Cook
County on June 7, 1976. In his Petition for a Writ of Habeas
Corpus, petitioner contends that he is being
unconstitutionally detained in the Illinois State Penitentiary
at Menard, Illinois. The alleged unconstitutional detention
complained of arises from the failure of the state trial judge
to sua sponte order a mental competency hearing where the facts
known to the trial court created a bona fide and serious doubt
as to petitioner's mental competency to stand trial, and the
trial court in fact found that it had a bona fide doubt as to
petitioner's competence but resolved this doubt without
conducting an evidentiary hearing. Petitioner has exhausted all
available state remedies. Before the court are the parties'
cross motions for summary judgment.
The facts surrounding petitioner's claim are not in dispute
and are substantially as follows. On March 30, 1975 petitioner
killed the woman with whom he had lived by strangling her with
an electrical cord. Shortly thereafter, he unsuccessfully
attempted suicide by stepping on the "third" or "electric"
rail in a subway station. Later the same day, petitioner was
arrested and he admitted the commission of the offense to the
police. On March 31, 1975 petitioner was hospitalized at
Cermak Hospital under the care of Dr. Baker Howell. Petitioner
remained hospitalized under Dr. Howell's psychiatric care up
to the date of his trial in March, 1976.
On July 10, 1975 private counsel filed his appearance on
behalf of the petitioner and the Public Defender withdrew. On
August 26, 1975 petitioner's private counsel reported that he
did not desire another fitness examination and that he had no
"problem with cooperation" with his client despite
petitioner's extensive history of mental and emotional
problems. The trial court, on its own motion, ordered that
petitioner be examined to determine his present fitness.
On October 3, 1975 petitioner was examined by Dr. Robert
Reifman of the Psychiatric Institute of Cook County. Dr.
Reifman reported his opinion that petitioner was not mentally
fit to stand trial. On October 31, 1975, at defense counsel's
request, a competency hearing was set for November 30. On
November 11, however, defense counsel informed the court that
he believed that defendant was fit to stand trial. This belief
was based upon his experience with petitioner and the report
of petitioner's privately retained psychiatrist, Dr. Judas.
The court ruled that in light of the earlier finding of Dr.
Reifman, it would schedule a fitness hearing on its own
On December 23, 1975, defense counsel presented to the court
the report of Dr. Judas. In that report Dr. Judas, who
examined defendant on November 12, concluded that defendant
was fit to stand trial. The following is excerpted from the
"At this point his thought processes are not
sufficiently interfered with nor is his affect so
far withdrawn that he cannot understand or
cooperate in a trial. It seemed to me this was
adequately demonstrated by how he was able to
deal with me in the interview.
Specifically, he was able to tell me why I was
here to examine him according to what I knew his
lawyers had told him. In addition, he held up
without disintegration to extensive investigation
on my part into his personal history, his
offense, and the nature and the functions of his
lawyers, social worker, and his fitness hearing
I see no good purpose in continuing to postpone
his trial. As a matter of fact there may be
adverse consequences as he sits out his guilt and
uncertainties. Under the circumstances of his
present confinement, he is in as good shape as he
is apt to be."
Defense counsel again opposed holding a fitness hearing,
basing this opposition on the report and on his experience
with the defendant. However, the matter was continued to
January 21, 1976. On that date the court received the report
of Dr. Reifman, who had examined the defendant a second time
on January 16, 1976. He concluded that defendant was fit to
stand trial "with medication." Upon inquiry by the court one
of defendant's attorneys stated that to the best of her
knowledge defendant was receiving medication. She also advised
the court it was in the best interest of the defendant to have
the trial as soon as possible. The court stated:
"The competency hearing was scheduled on the
basis that there was some bona fide indication
that the defendant may not be competent to stand
trial or fit to stand trial.
Your doctor, Dr. Junas (sic), who examined the
defendant, indicated it was her opinion that the
defendant was fit to stand trial.
Dr. Reifman, upon re-examination, has indicated
that it was his opinion at the present time that
the defendant is fit to ...