513 F.2d 254 (9th Cir. 1975), 74-2191, United States v. Hartfield

Docket Nº:74-2191.
Citation:513 F.2d 254
Party Name:UNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Charles Anthony HARTFIELD, Appellant.
Case Date:March 12, 1975
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit

Page 254

513 F.2d 254 (9th Cir. 1975)

UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,


Charles Anthony HARTFIELD, Appellant.

No. 74-2191.

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

March 12, 1975

Page 255

Alvin S. Michaelson (argued), Los Angeles, Cal., for appellant.

William D. Keller, U. S. Atty. (argued), Los Angeles, Cal., for appellees.

Before DUNIWAY and ELY, Circuit Judges, and SOLOMON, [*] Senior District Judge.


ELY, Circuit Judge:

Appellant Hartfield appeals from his conviction by a jury on one count of an indictment charging him with the attempted robbery of a savings and loan association while armed with a dangerous weapon, a violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2113(a) and (d). Sentenced to the custody of the Attorney General for a period of ten years, Hartfield is currently confined.

The evidence adduced at trial indicated that Hartfield entered a branch of the California Federal Savings and Loan Association (hereinafter "the Association") in Ontario, California at 9:30 a.m. on September 5, 1974. Pointing a gun at one of the Association's employees, Hartfield demanded, "Give me the money." It was explained to Hartfield that the particular Association office was strictly a loan branch and that no money was kept there. After repeating several times that he wanted the safe opened, Hartfield accepted the explanation and asked the employees who were present to give him the money from their pockets. Hartfield was in the Association office for approximately five to ten minutes and was described by the assistant vice president and manager of the loan office as appearing "hopped up" during the time.

Approximately fifteen minutes after the foregoing incident occurred at the loan office, a patrolman from the Upland Police Department observed a vehicle driven by a person matching the description of Hartfield, and the patrolman stopped the vehicle. Hartfield was

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placed under arrest and taken to the Ontario Police Station. During Hartfield's trial, his attorney offered to prove certain subsequent events, hereinafter described, but the trial judge refused to admit the proffered testimony.

The testimony sought to be introduced was as follows:

After arriving at the Ontario Police Station Hartfield was observed by Police Officer Chavis to be slumping out of his chair. Several officers attempted to keep Hartfield sitting upright in his chair and could not do so; consequently, Hartfield was placed on the floor to keep him from falling. According to Officer Chavis the appellant "went comatose." The Fire Department Rescue Service was summoned, arrived within several minutes, and spent about five minutes unsuccessfully attempting to revive Hartfield. Hartfield was then taken to the San Antonio Community Hospital, where he was admitted at 10:57 a.m. Hospital records were offered to prove that Hartfield was hospitalized for about one week, that he stated that he had possibly been given some LSD in something to drink, that he was admitted as the victim of a possible drug overdose, and that during the evening of the day of his admission he began to suffer hallucinations. Counsel for Hartfield also offered to produce Drs. Williamson and Campbell to testify as to their diagnosis and treatment of Hartfield at the hospital. All of this proffered testimony relating to Hartfield's condition after the time of his arrest was excluded by the trial judge and therefore never considered by the jury.

I. The Court's Denial of the Appellant's Request for an Order Authorizing the Administration of an Electroencephalogram.

Hartfield's first contention relates to the denial of defense counsel's motion requesting an order authorizing an examination of Hartfield by means of an electroencephalogram (hereafter "EEG"). After Hartfield had entered an initial plea of not guilty, the trial court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4244, appointed Dr. Marcus Crahan, a psychiatrist, to examine Hartfield to determine the latter's competency to stand trial. At the subsequent competency hearing, the court considered the report of Dr. Crahan, in which the psychiatrist had concluded that the defendant was in fact competent to stand trial. In questioning the doctor's conclusions, defense counsel referred the court to the following facts from the report:

  1. "Defendant basically has no reflexes. He does not react to light when light is shown into his eyes. He has no response to the usual tests for reflex action."

  2. "Knee jerks do not respond even by reinforcement. He is congenitally deaf in his left ear. He has a swollen right jaw and a history of head injury and convulsions. He denies knowledge of the robbery or the attempted robbery."

  3. "He also seems to have comprehensive difficulties and appears to be a mental defective."

  4. "He gives a history of a head injury in his youth in Texas. He felt that this may have affected his hearing and caused him to have blackouts. . . ."

  5. "His pupils are fixed and his palletar reflexes are nonresponsive and this may suggest congenital syphilis."

After questioning Hartfield personally, the court ruled that he was competent to stand trial. Subsequently, the court inquired whether the appellant had any history of "Jacksonian epilepsy" and questioned him as to whether he had a history of convulsions. The district judge also asked whether Hartfield had been given an EEG examination. Since none had been conducted, government counsel agreed that a "brain wave test" would be appropriate to determine the existence, vel non, of epilepsy. It was stipulated and agreed that Dr. Malcolm

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Valentine would be appointed to conduct a neurological examination of Hartfield. The district judge referred to his prior experience concerning some "encephalograms" that he had once had made on one of his clients and agreed that ". . . it would be pointless to have a trial if all the reasonable indicia point to lack of awareness."

Nevertheless, although there was considerable discussion in court concerning the appropriateness of an EEG test, Dr. Valentine neglected to conduct one. Rather a report was filed in which Dr. Valentine concluded:

"There were no complaints of other previous lapses of consciousness and there is no history of convulsive episodes or anything suggesting psychomotor episodes. . . . Although unhandicapped by an independent history, there is nothing to suggest from what the defendant tells me of a seizure disorder or anything remotely suggestive of temporal lobe epilepsy . . . If there are any doubts, an EEG in both the sleeping and waking states might be helpful. One cannot help noticing, however, similarity of the previous robbery with the present charge." (emphasis added).

In view of the district judge's earlier statements indicating the appropriateness of an EEG, and Dr. Valentine's statement that an EEG "might be helpful," Hartfield's counsel moved pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e) for an order authorizing the administration to Hartfield of the EEG examination. The court denied the motion, indicating that Dr. Valentine's report had not suggested the "necessity" of an EEG and that the report indicated there was "no doubt" as to the absence of an epileptic condition. Hartfield vigorously contends that the denial of this motion was error which seriously prejudiced him in his plans to offer a defense predicated upon a showing that he was suffering from a mental defect or incapacity that precluded criminal responsibility for the offense.

We consider the correctness of the court's ruling in light of the language of 18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e) and our decisions interpreting it. The relevant portion of the statute provides:

"Counsel for a person who is financially unable to obtain investigative, expert, or other services necessary to an adequate defense may request them in an ex parte application. Upon finding, after appropriate inquiry in an ex parte proceeding, that the services are necessary and that the person is financially unable to obtain them, the court . . . shall authorize counsel to obtain the services."

18 U.S.C. § 3006A(e)(1). Since Hartfield's indigence is not contested, the "financially unable to obtain them" requirement of the statute is clearly satisfied. The critical question is...

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