386 F.2d 97 (5th Cir. 1967), 22994, Lee v. State of Alabama

Docket Nº:22994.
Citation:386 F.2d 97
Party Name:Huey R. LEE, Appellant, v. STATE OF ALABAMA, Appellee.
Case Date:June 27, 1967
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Page 97

386 F.2d 97 (5th Cir. 1967)

Huey R. LEE, Appellant,



No. 22994.

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

June 27, 1967

Rehearing Denied Aug. 22, 1967.

Huey R. Lee, Montgomery, Ala., pro se.

Walter Mark Anderson, III, Asst. Atty. Gen., Montgomery, Ala., MacDonald Gallion, Atty. Gen., and Robert F. Miller, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

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TUTTLE, Chief Judge:

On July 6, 1942, Huey R. Lee, Jr. was arrested, confined in a jail of Barbour County, Alabama, and charged with murder in the first degree for the slaying of his father, Huey R. Lee, Sr. On July 13, 1942, one G. D. Boyd filed a request for an investigation as to the sanity of said Huey R. Lee, Jr. This request is authorized under Section 428 of Title 15 of the 1940 Code of Alabama, which provides as follows:

'§ 428. Inquisition upon alleged insane prisoner; further proceedings.--If any person in confinement, under indictment, or for want of bail for good behavior, or for keeping the peace, or appearing as a witness, or in consequence of any summary conviction, or by an order of any justice, appears to be insane, the judge of any court of record of the county where he is confined must institute a careful investigation, call a respectable physician and other credible witnesses, and if he deems it necessary, may call a jury, and for that purpose he is empowered to compel attendance of witnesses and jurors; and if it be satisfactorily proved that the person is insane, the judge may discharge him from imprisonment and order his safe custody and removal to the Alabama state hospitals, where he must remain until restored to his right mind; and then, if the judge shall have so directed, the superintendent must inform the judge and sheriff, whereupon the person must be remanded to prison, and criminal proceedings be resumed, or he be otherwise discharged.' 1

The hearing was conducted before the judge and a jury on July 20, 1942. Notwithstanding strong medical testimony to the contrary, the jury having heard evidence from seven physicians and seventeen lay witnesses returned a verdict reading: 'We the jury find the defendant to be sane.'

On October 20, 1942, the Grand Jury returned an indictment charging Lee with the murder of his father. Two days later, the Sheriff of the county, filed a request that Lee be sent to Bryce Hospital at Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for observation,

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and accompanied his request with a report from Dr. W. D. Partlow, superintendent of the Alabama State Hospital that '* * * It is my professional opinion that there is reasonable ground to believe that said defendant was insane either at the time of the commission of the offense charged in said indictment, or presently.'

Lee's attorneys filed a similar request. Action under Section 425 of Title 15 of the 1940 Code of Alabama, 2 the judge entered an order in accordance with such requests. Lee remained in the Alabama State Hospital from October 24, 1942 to August 3, 1943. On July 21, 1943, Dr. W. D. Partlow, Dr. J. S. Tarwater and Dr. P. B. Mayfield, who constituted a commission on lunacy, submitted the following report:

'It is the opinion of each of us, and it is our opinion jointly and collectively, that the said Huey R. Lee, Jr., at the time of his admission to The Bryce Hospital, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is one of the Alabama State Hospitals, on October 24, 1942 was insane and that at all times continually from the date of admission to the present date of this report has been insane. It is our opinion that this case is a type of insanity characterized by both grandiose delusions and delusions of persecution. It is our opinion that he in his own estimation so magnifies the ego or self in importance as compared with evert other person or consideration that when others with whom he has to deal fail to accept his viewpoint in their attitude toward him in compliance with his wishes or will, he immediately feels and decides such persons are his enemies and are endeavoring to persecute him. We are of the opinion further that his feelings and emotions are governed by these delusions of grandeur and of persecution, and that he, therefore, acts or endeavors

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to act under such emotions, ideas, beliefs and delusions to vindicate himself against those who, he believes, persecute or conspire to persecute him. We are further of the opinion that such ideas and beliefs, and the feelings and emotions incident thereto, so completely dominate and control him and determine his course of action whenever his will is not thwarted by others, as to be abnormal and thus render him abnormal mentally or insane to the extent that distinctly affects his present criminal responsibility and so affects such criminal responsibility at any time from the date of his admission to The Bryce Hospital to the present date of this report.

'Based upon our knowledge of the mental condition of said Huey R. Lee, Jr., from the date of his admission to The Bryce Hospital October 24, 1942, to the present date, based upon a conservative study of his case with other similar mental conditions which have come under our observation in the course of time, and based upon a study of the history of his case, including facts supplied as relative to the record of the crime of which he is charged, as shown in transcript of certain court records in his case as submitted to us for study, it is our further opinion that his mental condition as described above existed prior to his admission to The Bryce Hospital and prior to and at the time of the commission of the crime to the extent that it did affect his criminal responsibility at the time to the commission of the crime.

'Under the provisions of the same Section (425, Title 15, Code of Alabama 1940) above referred to, we understand that with the rendering of this report our obligation and that of the Alabama State Hospitals has been discharged and that, therefore, if it is the wish of the Court that the said Huey R. Lee, Jr. be detained longer in this institution as a patient it would be necessary for the Court, or some court jurisdiction, to issue a commitment or an order for the further detention of the said Huey R. Lee, Jr. in said Alabama State Hospitals.'

On August 3, 1943, pursuant to an order of the trial court, the sheriff removed Lee from Bryce Hospital to the jail of Barbour County 'to await further criminal proceedings against him.' Lee was arraigned and called on to plead to the indictment on October 1, 1943 and the record discloses that three pleas were interposed for his:

'(1) Not guilty;

'(2) Not guilty by reason of insanity; and

'(3) Not guilty by reason of insanity at the time of the commission of the offense.'

The case came on for trial on October 27, 1943, and Lee's counsel thus stated his pleas to the jury:

'By Mr. Lee: Gentlemen, to that indictment, the Defendant pleads not guilty. That plea puts in issue the material facts in the case. He also says that he is not guilty by reason of insanity, and that plea puts in issue the fact that whether or not, as we in our language sometimes express it, the man was insane and incapable of committing the crime, and under the Alabama laws did not commit any crime, and in this case we say that he is not guilty by reason of insanity.

'By the Court: You mean to say to the jury that he was insane at the time of the commission of the offense?

'By Mr. Lee: We don't want to differ with the Court, and we plead as the Court suggested, that he was insane at the time of the commission of the offense.' 3

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After a full trial, in which he was represented by counsel and testified in his own behalf, 4 Lee convicted of murder in the first degree and his punishment fixed at life imprisonment. The judgment of conviction was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Alabama, Lee v. State, 1944, 246 Ala. 343, 20 So.2d 471 and certiorari was denied by the Supreme Court of the United States. Lee v. State of Alabama, 1944, 325 U.S. 888, 65 S.Ct. 1576, 89 L.Ed. 2002. In that direct appeal, Lee did not raise the issue which is now presented to this court, which is his lack of mental capacity at the time of the trial to enable him to assist in his own defense. The Alabama Supreme Court said: 'The only defense supported by any evidence is that of not guilty by reason of insanity. This defense must be 'clearly proved to the reasonable satisfaction of the jury' and the burden is on the defendant to do so. Section 422, Title 15, Code; Boyle v. State, 229 Ala. 212, 154 So. 575. The burden so imposed is not denied by defendant and he offered much evidence to meet that burden and there was much offered in rebuttal by the State.'

As has been pointed out by the Supreme Court of Alabama, the defense of 'not guilty by reason of insanity,' which is a statutory defense prescribed in Section 423 of Title 15, 1940 Code of Alabama, supra, footnote 2, does not present the issue to the trial court of the mental competency of the accused at the time of trial. Hawkins v. State, 267 Ala. 518, 103 So.2d 158. In that case the court said: 'Upon his arraignment the defendant interposed the pleas of not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Under these pleas the 'present' sanity of the defendant was not an issue. See Ex Parte Lee, 248 Ala. 246, 27 So.2d 147; Jones v. State, 13 Ala. 153; U.S. v. Chisholm, (5 Cir.) 153 F. 808.' Hawkins v. State, 103 So.2d 158, 161.

On January 16, 1946, Lee, represented by different attorneys, began his long series of...

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