881 F.2d 512 (7th Cir. 1989), 87-2774, Ray v. Duckworth

Docket Nº:87-2774.
Citation:881 F.2d 512
Party Name:Latroy Darnell RAY, Petitioner-Appellant, v. Jack R. DUCKWORTH, Superintendent, and Indiana Attorney General, Respondents-Appellees.
Case Date:August 09, 1989
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
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Page 512

881 F.2d 512 (7th Cir. 1989)

Latroy Darnell RAY, Petitioner-Appellant,

v.

Jack R. DUCKWORTH, Superintendent, and Indiana Attorney

General, Respondents-Appellees.

No. 87-2774.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

August 9, 1989

Submitted Jan. 13, 1989.[*]

Page 513

Latroy Darnell Ray, Michigan City, Ind., pro se.

James G. Clark, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, Ind., for respondents-appellees.

Before BAUER, Chief Judge, and CUMMINGS and POSNER, Circuit Judges.

BAUER, Chief Judge.

Latroy Ray brings this pro se appeal from the district court's order denying his petition for habeas corpus. Ray challenges

Page 514

the constitutionality of his state court conviction for the murder of Alice Smith. He claims that the trial court erred when it denied his request for a third hearing to determine his competency to stand trial, and when it denied his request to suppress his confession, which he claims was given involuntarily. For the reason outlined below, we affirm.

I. Factual Background

Alice Smith was found stabbed to death in her Gary, Indiana, home on November 15, 1976. The police had been called to the Smiths' residence at about 1:00 P.M. that day after a neighbor heard the sounds of a breaking window and a woman's scream. While two officers were conducting a subsequent search for witnesses, they came upon Ray as he was walking down the alley behind the victim's house. The officers noticed that Ray's hand was badly cut and wrapped in a bloody bandage. When they asked Ray were he lived, Ray stated that he was staying with the Clarks, who lived two doors away, and that he was willing to accompany them there. While at the Clarks' home, Officer Kremps conducted a routine search of the alley behind the house and found blood covered clothes belonging to Ray in the Clarks' garbage can. At that point, the officers placed Ray under arrest, read him his rights, and took him to the Gary Police station.

At the station, the police again read Ray his rights and then placed him in a room for questioning. After Ray expressed a reluctance to answer any questions, Officer Matan left him alone and proceeded to take the statement of James Clark, Ray's friend and roommate at the Clark home. 1 Officer Matan returned to the room where Ray was being held and informed the suspect of the nature of James' statement and the physical evidence implicating him in the murder. Matan then asked Ray if he still wanted to remain silent. Ray responded by asking to speak with Malard Clark, James' father. Mr. Clark testified that after a brief discussion alone with Ray, the latter confessed to the murder and stated that he was willing to talk to the police about it. At that point, the officers read Ray his rights again and gave him a Miranda waiver form to read and sign. Ray did so, and then proceeded to give the police a detailed, three-page statement confessing to the murder of Mrs. Smith.

Prior to trial, Ray's appointed counsel entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. On January 31, 1977, the trial court held a competency hearing in which it heard the testimony of the court-appointed medical witnesses who examined Ray. Based upon the testimony of these witnesses, the court found that Ray was not competent to stand trial. The court therefore committed Ray to the custody of the Indiana Department of Mental Health until he regained his competency and was able to stand trial. Court-appointed psychiatrists at the Norman Beatty Hospital observed and tested Ray for approximately five months, at which time they found that he had regained his competency. The court then conducted a second competency hearing on October 21, 1977, and after hearing the testimony, found that Ray had "sufficient comprehension to understand the nature of the offense with which he is charged and [to] aid in the preparation of his defense."

Before proceeding to trial, Ray's substituted counsel filed a second insanity plea and moved to have another competency hearing held. He also moved to suppress Ray's confession on the grounds that it was not given voluntarily. At the March 23, 1978, hearing that followed, the court denied both of these motions. Ray was subsequently tried by a jury, which found

Page 515

him guilty of first degree murder. He was then sentenced to a term of life imprisonment.

Ray took an appeal of his conviction to the Indiana Supreme Court in which he raised three issues: the trial court erred when it (1) denied his request to conduct a third competency hearing prior to trial, (2) denied his motion to suppress his confession, and (3) admitted his confession without determining whether he had the capacity to intelligently waive his rights. In a published opinion, the Indiana Supreme Court affirmed Ray's conviction. Ray v. State, 272 Ind. 111, 396 N.E.2d 373 (Ind.1979). Ray then filed a habeas petition before the federal district court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Sec. 2254. In his petition, Ray raised the same three issues as grounds for relief. The district court, after relying extensively upon the factual findings accepted by the Indiana Supreme Court, denied the petition. Ray appealed, and this court denied his subsequent requests for leave to proceed in forma pauperis and for appointed counsel. In his pro se brief, Ray raises only two of the three issues advanced below: he contends that he was tried in violation of his rights to due process when the trial court denied his motion to conduct a third competency hearing. Ray also contends that the trial court erred when it admitted his confession, which he claims was given involuntarily because he was coerced into waiving his rights under Miranda.

II. Analysis

A defendant who is tried and convicted while legally incompetent is denied his or her due process right to a fair trial. Drope v. Missouri, 420 U.S. 162, 172, 95 S.Ct. 896, 904, 43 L.Ed.2d 103 (1975); Pate v. Robinson, 383 U.S. 375, 378, 86...

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