Gregory v. State, 1411

Decision Date06 September 1978
Docket NumberNo. 1411,1411
Citation40 Md.App. 297,391 A.2d 437
PartiesStephen Wyatt GREGORY v. STATE of Maryland.
CourtCourt of Special Appeals of Maryland

John G. Gill, Jr., Assigned Public Defender, Rockville, for appellant.

Deborah K. Handel, Asst. Atty. Gen., with whom were Francis B. Burch, Atty. Gen., Andrew L. Sonner, State's Atty. for Montgomery County and Timothy E. Clarke, Deputy State's Atty. for Montgomery County on the brief, for appellee.

Argued before MASON, WILNER and COUCH, JJ.

WILNER, Judge.

The Citizens Bank of Maryland has a branch office located in the Blair Plaza Shopping Center, in Silver Spring. Shortly after 6:00 p. m. on February 9, 1977, Stephen Wyatt Gregory, the appellant, entered that office carrying two rifles, one under each arm.

His first act was to order the several customers then in the bank to leave, which, without undue hesitation, they did. He found himself, then, alone in the lobby and separated from the bank employees by a floor-to-ceiling partition, the major part of which consisted of bullet-proof glass. At his direction, however, the assistant manager opened a door connecting the lobby with the office and working areas; and appellant thereupon proceeded to take the assistant manager and seven other employees hostage. The silent alarm was immediately activated, and the bank was soon surrounded by the police.

It quickly became apparent that appellant did not intend to rob the bank, although what, if any, motive he did have remained a mystery. During the course of the next six-and-a-half hours, appellant spoke on the telephone with assorted newsmen, a friend, his mother, and with Sergeant McFee, of the Montgomery County Police Department. Every now and then, he fired his rifles from inside the bank, discharging in all some 205 rounds, mostly at objects in the bank. Fortunately, he did not injure or kill anyone, although he easily could have done so. Almost from the beginning, and periodically throughout the siege, he allowed his eight hostages, one by one, either to escape or to leave with his permission. Finally, an hour or so after the last hostage left, appellant put down his weapons and was captured by the police.

As a result of this bizarre and frightening episode, a 37-count indictment was returned against appellant, charging him with nine counts of kidnapping, nine counts of false imprisonment, seven counts of assault with intent to murder, and twelve counts of assault. To each count, appellant pled not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity. Trial was held before a jury in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, at the conclusion of which appellant was convicted of eight counts of false imprisonment and four counts of assault. 1 Upon his eight convictions for false imprisonment, appellant was sentenced to imprisonment for eight consecutive terms of two years each (total: 16 years), and upon the assault convictions, he was sentenced to imprisonment for four concurrent terms of two years each.

Appellant presents two questions in this appeal:

1. Whether or not the admission of opinions and/or conclusions of three psychiatrists who were not called to testify on the issue of legal responsibility violated appellant's right to confrontation as guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Article 21 of the Maryland Declaration of Rights; and

2. Whether it was error for the trial judge to refuse to permit cross-examination as to or introduction by appellant of lay opinions as to sanity and/or rationality and to present testimony as to certain previous episodes of appellant's life.

Right of Confrontation

There was no significant dispute about what occurred in the bank; appellant did not contest that he, in fact, did those things which the State and its witnesses claimed he had done. His sole defense was that he was not responsible for his acts that he was legally insane at the time he committed them. Appellant's "sanity", therefore, was the only real issue in the case; and it was a strongly contested one.

In accordance with Maryland law (Code, art. 59, § 25), once appellant entered his plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, he was referred to Clifton T. Perkins State Hospital for evaluation as to his "responsibility" at the time of the incident. 2 On June 14, 1977, the Superintendent (Dr. LeBow) and the Clinical Director (Dr. Silver) of Perkins reported to the court, and to counsel, that:

"No evidence for psychosis or organacity was elicited. Psychological testing revealed him (appellant) to be of average intelligence with a personality picture of immaturity, histrionics, and low frustration tolerance. It was the Unanimous opinion of the medical staff that the patient is suffering from a personality disorder characterized variously as hysteric, passive-aggressive and antisocial.

"It was the Unanimous opinion of the medical staff that, at the present time, Mr. Gregory is able to understand the nature and object of the proceedings against him and assist in his own defense. It was the further Majority opinion of the medical staff that at the time of the alleged offense the patient was Not suffering from a mental disorder which would have caused him to lack substantial capacity to either appreciate the criminality of his conduct or conform his conduct to the requirements of the law." (Emphasis supplied.)

Of critical significance, in terms of appellant's defense of insanity, was the medical staff conference that occurred on June 13, 1977; for, in large part, it was at, and as a result of, that conference that the medical opinions described in Dr. LeBow's letter were developed and recorded. The report of that conference shows that the following reports were submitted: (1) Psychiatric Case Workup by Dr. Adamo; (2) Psychological Report by Mr. Morse; (3) Social Service Summary by Ms. Collins; and (4) Nursing Service Summary by Mr. Bouldin. The report then concludes:

"After interviewing the patient, the following

opinions were expressed:

Dr. LeBow: Hysterical Personality. Competent

and Responsible.

Dr. Silver: Hysterical Personality with

antisocial trends. Competent

and Responsible.

Dr. Adamo: Hysterical Personality. Depressive
Neurosis. Competent

and Not Responsible.

Dr. Hertzberg: Passive-aggressive Personality.

Competent and Responsible.

Dr. Fitzpatrick: Passive-aggressive Personality.

Competent and Responsible.

Dr. Abbas: Antisocial Personality. Competent

and Responsible.

Final Diagnosis: Personality Disorder characterized

variously as hysteric,

passive-aggressive and antisocial.

Recommendations: This patient is competent for

trial. He was responsible at

the time of the alleged offenses

(majority opinion).

Return to Court custody.



Stuart Silver, M.D., Clinical

Director" The "bottom line", so to speak, of this conference, and ultimately of the hospital report itself, was that (1) all six psychiatrists agreed that appellant had a mental disorder, (2) five of the doctors, expressing four somewhat varying diagnoses, considered appellant nevertheless to be competent and responsible, and (3) one doctor (Adamo), expressing a fifth diagnosis, believed him to be competent but not responsible.

At the commencement of trial, both sides agreed to an "order of proof" consistent with that approved in Hawkins v. State, 34 Md.App. 82, 366 A.2d 421 (1976); namely: the defense would introduce the issue of "sanity" in its case-in-chief, and the State, in rebuttal, would respond with its evidence on that issue. In accordance with that procedure, appellant offered the testimony of four psychiatrists. Dr. Brian Crowley, employed by appellant, had examined appellant prior to his second admission to Perkins. He testified that appellant suffered from the cumulative effect of a mental depression (depressive neurosis), a serious personality disorder of mixed type, and being "under the influence of ethyl alcohol to some substantial extent I think very considerable on that occasion." Crowley opined that appellant's mental disorder caused him to lack substantial capacity to conform his conduct to requirements of law on the day in question, and that his opinion would be the same even if he assumed that appellant had not been under the influence of alcohol.

Following Dr. Crowley was Dr. John McCormack. Dr. McCormack had been on duty at a hospital near the shopping center, and had been called to the scene by the police when appellant, while still in the bank with the hostages, had indicated a desire to talk to a psychiatrist. He had occasion to observe what occurred, including appellant and his demeanor, and had also talked with the police, with appellant's parents, and with appellant's girlfriend. In addition, he had listened in on the various telephone conversations with appellant. Although he had not examined appellant, Dr. McCormack was permitted to express his opinion that appellant suffered from a mental disorder (which he did not define more specifically than "a depression") and that, on the evening in question, appellant was unable to conform his conduct to the requirements of the law. 3

Next, Dr. Adamo, the psychiatrist from Perkins who had done the Psychiatric Case Work-up (and the only one of those present and "voting" at the June 13 medical staff conference who believed appellant to be not responsible) testified. Dr. Adamo had interviewed appellant on three occasions during his stay at Perkins twice on June 10 (which was prior to the staff conference) and once on June 15 (after the conference). He stated that appellant had a mental disorder which he diagnosed as a depressive neurosis, and that this disorder was so severe as to impair his ability to appreciate the criminality of his conduct and to conform his conduct to the requirement of law.

It was during the State's cross-examination of Dr. Adamo that the confrontation issue first arose. Over appellant's objection,...

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