IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
November 6, 2012
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
VERNON LEE WILLIAMSON,
ORDER REGARDING COMPETENCY EXAMINATION OF DEFENDANT PURSUANT TO 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a)
This matter came before the Court for a status conference on October 29, 2012, at 9:30 a.m. Defense counsel, Assistant Federal Defender Matthew Scoble, expressed his concern regarding a potential complete breakdown in the attorney-client relationship. The Court excused the Assistant United States Attorneys assigned to the case, and thereafter held a closed hearing addressing defense counsel's concern. Following the hearing, the Court found that there was no need for substitute counsel to be appointed for Defendant. Based on Defendant's behavior and a concern regarding his competency to decide whether to plead guilty or proceed to trial, the Court inquired as to the necessity for a competency hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241.
The Court directed government counsel to determine how quickly a competency evaluation could be completed pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241(b) and 4247(c). The Government requested to continue the status conference for one week to November 5, 2012. The Court granted the request. It further found that an exclusion of time to bring the matter to trial under the Speedy Trial Act was appropriate under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(A) (delay resulting from any proceeding, including any examinations to determine the mental competency of the defendant) from October 29 to November 5, 2012.
On November 5, 2012, the parties returned for further status conference in the matter. Government counsel informed the Court that Gregory Sokolov, M.D., had represented that he could review materials, complete an examination of defendant, and prepare a report for the Court regarding competency by November 30, 2012. The Government further requested that a status conference be set for Monday, December 3, 2012. December 3 is the Court's first regularly scheduled criminal calendar date following the evaluation and report preparation time requested by Dr. Sokolov. The Government requested an exclusion of time to December 3, 2012, under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(A) and Local Code A (competency evaluation of defendant).
The Court, having found that Defendant's behavior provides reasonable cause to believe that he may be presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings or to assist in the preparation of his defense, hereby orders the following:
1. The Government's oral Motion for a competency evaluation of Defendant is granted. The Court appoints Dr. Gregory Sokolov, M.D., to examine defendant pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241(b) and 4247(c).
2. Dr. Sokolov is ordered to examine Defendant and provide a written report regarding his competency on or before November 30, 2012.
3. This matter is set for a status conference regarding Defendant's competency on December 3, 2012, at 9:30 a.m.
4. Time under the Speedy Trial Act is excluded from the period of October 29, 2012, up to and including December 3, 2012, under 18 U.S.C. § 3161(h)(1)(A) and Local Code A.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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