IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS
June 12, 2008
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, PLAINTIFF,
JOSEPH L. BROWN, DEFENDANT.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Reagan, District Judge
ORDER FOR PSYCHIATRIC EVALUATION
On June 3, 2008, defense counsel raised the issue of Brown's competency to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him and properly assist in his defense. As such, Brown filed a motion seeking a psychiatric or psychological evaluation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241 (Doc. 35).
On June 12, 2008, the Court held a hearing on the motion (See Doc. 47). Defendant's counsel, William A. Shirley, indicated that Brown has a history of mental issues, including treatment for bipolar disorder, paranoia, and schizophrenia. Brown has taken medication for these problems, but ceased to do so approximately one month prior to his arraignment. As such, defense counsel felt that Brown exhibited paranoid tendencies at the time of his arraignment.
Subsequent to his arraignment, Brown was housed in medical segregation at the Western Illinois Correctional Center for approximately one month. Since that time, he has been taking at least two medications related to his mental state, including an anti-psychotic.
Additionally, the undersigned Judge observed and questioned Brown at the hearing. Brown initially indicated confusion as to why the hearing was being held and what it was about. He admitted to having a history of mental problems and deferred to his attorney with respect to whether he should undergo a psychological examination.
Initially, counsel for the United States supported Brown's motion for a psychological evaluation (Doc. 38). At the hearing, however, the United States reversed its position and argued that there is no evidence that Brown needs a psychological evaluation, as he is now taking medication.
Having fully considered the information provided by the parties, the Court FINDS reasonable cause to believe that Brown "may presently be 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" pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Consequently, the Court GRANTS the motion for a psychological examination (Doc. 35).
The Court REMANDS Brown to the custody of the United States Marshals Service and DIRECTS apsychiatric and/or psychological examination of Brown be conducted by a licensed or certified psychiatrist or psychologist at an institution to be designated by the Attorney General or his representative. The examination shall be completed within 30 days, unless an extension of time is granted by the Court pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b) ("The director of the facility may apply for a reasonable extension, but not to exceed fifteen days..., upon a showing of good cause that the additional time is necessary to observe and evaluate the defendant"). A psychiatric or psychological report shall be filed with this Court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(c), with copies to counsel. However, if either counsel becomes independently aware that the report is ready, they should provide the Court with copies.
The United States Marshals Service shall transport Brown to the institution designated by the Attorney General and upon completion of the examination, return him to the Court for a hearing in accordance with the provisions of 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a) and (c) and § 4247(d).
The 30 days allowed for the examination under this Order shall begin on the day Brown physically arrives at the institution designated by the Attorney General. Bearing note, however, is the fact that 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(H)provides for only ten days transportation time to the institution (any period of time beyond this "shall be presumed to be unreasonable").
Finally, the Court SETS a competency hearing in this matter for 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 31, 2008 in East St. Louis Courthouse.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
MICHAEL J. REAGAN United States District Judge
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