147 P.3d 1097 (Nev. 2006), 46641, Calvin v. State

Docket Nº:46641.
Citation:147 P.3d 1097
Opinion Judge:OPINION PER CURIAM.
Party Name:Ronald O'Neal CALVIN, Appellant, v. The STATE of Nevada, Respondent.
Attorney:Philip J. Kohn, Public Defender, and Howard S. Brooks and Kedric A. Bassett, Deputy Public Defenders, Clark County, for Appellant., George Chanos, Attorney General, Carson City; David J. Roger, District Attorney, and James Tufteland, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Respondent.
Case Date:December 14, 2006
Court:Supreme Court of Nevada
 
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Page 1097

147 P.3d 1097 (Nev. 2006)

Ronald O'Neal CALVIN, Appellant,

v.

The STATE of Nevada, Respondent.

No. 46641.

Supreme Court of Nevada

Dec. 14, 2006

Rehearing Denied Jan. 31, 2007.

Page 1098

Philip J. Kohn, Public Defender, and Howard S. Brooks and Kedric A. Bassett, Deputy Public Defenders, Clark County, for Appellant.

George Chanos, Attorney General, Carson City; David J. Roger, District Attorney, and James Tufteland, Chief Deputy District Attorney, Clark County, for Respondent.

Before GIBBONS, MAUPIN and DOUGLAS, JJ.

OPINION

PER CURIAM.

In this opinion, we consider whether NRS 178.400, Nevada's standard for a defendant's competency to stand trial, conforms to the standard set out by the United States Supreme Court in Dusky v. United States. 1 We conclude tat it does. We also consider what evidence the district court and appointed experts may consider at all stages of the competency proceedings.

FACTS

Appellant Ronald O'Neal Calvin was charged with two counts of first-degree murder with the use of a deadly weapon and two counts of robbery with the use of a deadly weapon. An issue arose as to his competency to stand trial, and in 1999 he was evaluated at Lake's Crossing and found to be competent. The trial date was continued a number of times over the course of four years. Two new defense counsel were apparently assigned to Calvin's case in early 2005, and they again raised questions about Calvin's competency.

At a hearing on April 5, 2005, defense counsel informed the district court that although Calvin understood the legal proceedings, he had difficulty assisting counsel. At that time, the prosecutor argued that under NRS 178.400, if Calvin could understand the proceedings, his inability to assist counsel was immaterial. However, in later hearings, after the defense argued that this reading of the statute was inconsistent with the Dusky definition of competency, the prosecutor expressly stated that the Dusky standard governed in Nevada and conceded that the ability to assist counsel was necessary for a defendant to be competent.

At the April 5 hearing, the district court appointed two psychologists to evaluate Calvin: Dr. Greg Harder and Dr. Marvin Glovinsky. The defense requested that the psychologists receive Calvin's Lake's Crossing records, but the district court ordered that they receive only a copy of his discharge summary from Lake's Crossing. The district court also ordered the parties not to contact the psychologists. Dr. Harder found that Calvin was mentally ill, but both he and Dr. Glovinsky submitted reports finding Calvin competent to stand trial. Dr. Harder subsequently advised defense counsel that he had evaluated Calvin under the standard of NRS 178.400(2), but that under the standard of Dusky, which Dr. Harder believed emphasized a " 'rational' understanding of the charges and ability to assist counsel," Calvin's competency was "less conclusive." A defense expert, Dr. Michael Krelstein, also

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examined Calvin and concluded he was not competent to stand trial.

The district court held a competency hearing on June 27, 2005. The defense did not call Dr. Krelstein to testify but did call Dr. Elizabeth Neighbors, a psychologist and the director of Lake's Crossing. She stated that despite the language in NRS 178.400, she and her colleagues followed Dusky and NRS 178.455. She also testified that it was preferable for an evaluator to consult with a defendant's counsel and have access to the defendant's medical records, family history, and jail records when evaluating competency. The defense also called Emily Reader, a social worker at the Clark County Public Defender's Office. The defense wanted her to describe her meetings with Calvin, but after the prosecutor objected, the district court ruled that it would not allow her to testify until she had provided the prosecution with her notes of those meetings. The...

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