U.S. v. Davis, No. 96-1156

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
Writing for the CourtWELLS
Citation93 F.3d 1286
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Margaret Knape DAVIS, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 96-1156
Decision Date26 August 1996

Page 1286

93 F.3d 1286
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Margaret Knape DAVIS, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 96-1156.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued March 29, 1996.
Decided Aug. 26, 1996.

Page 1287

Michael A. MacDonald, Asst. U.S. Attorney (argued and briefed), Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan, Grand Rapids, MI, for Plaintiff-Appellee.

Mayer Morganroth (briefed), Morganroth & Morganroth, Southfield, MI, Nathan Z. Dershowitz (argued), Dershowitz & Eiger, New York City, for Defendant-Appellant.

Before: NORRIS and SUHRHEINRICH, Circuit Judges, WELLS, * District Judge.

WELLS, District Judge.

This is an interlocutory appeal from a decision of the district court requiring defendant-appellant, Margaret Knape Davis, to self-surrender at Federal Medical Center ("FMC") Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, for a forty-five day period of psychiatric and psychological examination. We conclude the district court lacked authority to order the commitment and examination of the defendant under either Criminal Rule 12.2(c) or 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241 and 4242. However, under the circumstances of this case, we hold the district court has the inherent authority to order a reasonable non-custodial examination of the defendant concerning her mental condition at the time of the offense. Therefore, we REVERSE the district court's order and REMAND this case for further proceedings.

I. HISTORY OF PROCEEDINGS

Defendant is charged in fourteen counts of a fifteen count superseding indictment filed November 28, 1995. The superseding indictment charges her with wire fraud, uttering, possessing counterfeit and forged securities, and conspiracy to defraud, based on events which occurred between 1992 and 1995.

Page 1288

On December 21, 1995, defendant gave notice that she intended "to offer the defenses of diminished capacity and/or mental disease and/or defect and/or incapacity to form specific intent" pursuant to Fed.R.Crim.P. 12.2(b). Five days later, the government filed a motion to commit the defendant for a pretrial psychiatric examination for competency and insanity, and to review the conditions of the defendant's bond. In response to this motion, defendant stated she had no objection to a sanity or a competency examination, but objected to commitment for that purpose.

At a pretrial conference on January 5, 1996, the district court heard oral argument regarding the government's motion to commit the defendant for psychiatric examination. In an oral ruling, the district court stated, "[t]here is no question but that the government is entitled to a mental examination of the defendant pursuant to Rule 12.2 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and 18 U.S.C. 4242," noting that "[t]he defendant does not ... even challenge that." "The issue," said the district court, "is whether the defendant must or may be placed in custody for the purpose of conducting an evaluation for a period of at least 45 days." The court further noted it was "looking for some evaluation which would consider both issues of competence to stand trial and the issue of her mental capacity."

The government had stated three reasons for requesting commitment: "economics," "the nature of the crime itself," and "obtaining an equal field regarding the ability to watch [the defendant] around the clock." The district court stated it was "impressed with the economics argument, but not as impressed with it as ... with the other two arguments made":

I am more persuaded by the argument made that the examination has to be cognizant of the fact that the claim of diminished capacity covers a long period of time and specific periods of time, which based on my experience with psychologists in the past has been difficult to do.... [The government] is entitled to have an input, medical input, and Ph.D. psychological input regarding the diminished capacity of defendant over a period that might go as far back as 1988, but at least goes back as far as three years.

More importantly, it seems to me that the government seeks a level playing field. Mr. Morganroth [defendant's counsel], to his credit, admits that he would call the treating psychiatrist. It is clearly reasonable to this Court that a jury would be impressed by a treating psychiatrist, and that the psychiatrist who treats her or sees her, evaluates her on an outpatient basis won't have the same ability.

The Court believes that the Justice Department is entitled to some close observation of this defendant on an around-the-clock basis, and with teams that include both psychologists and psychiatrists.

* * * *

I am going to order that she be committed for 45 days pursuant to the statute for the reasons that I have set forth....

The district court ordered the defendant to surrender voluntarily at FMC Carswell, Texas, on January 22, 1996, for a forty-five day period of psychiatric and psychological examination.

Defendant moved the district court to reconsider its involuntary commitment order or to stay the order for twenty-one days to permit the defendant to seek appellate review. Attached to the motion was a letter from the defendant's treating psychiatrist, Steven H. Berger, M.D., who stated, among other things, that in his judgment the defendant "understands (1) the nature of the charges against her, (2) the possible consequences if found guilty, and (3) the role that her attorneys have in representing her in her defense."

The district court denied the motion to reconsider, but granted the motion for a stay until February 12, 1996, to allow the defendant to appeal to this Court. Following oral argument in this matter, this Court stayed the order of commitment pending this appeal.

II. JURISDICTION

The district court's commitment order was not a "final order" appealable under 28

Page 1289

U.S.C. § 1291. The government therefore contends this Court lacks jurisdiction over this appeal.

In criminal cases in particular, the final judgment rule is strictly applied to ensure the prompt adjudication of criminal charges. Flanagan v. United States, 465 U.S. 259, 264-65, 104 S.Ct. 1051, 1054-55, 79 L.Ed.2d 288 (1984). However, the collateral order doctrine permits an interlocutory appeal from a narrow class of non-final orders which "finally determine claims of right separable from, and collateral to, rights asserted in the action, too important to be denied review and too independent of the cause itself to require that appellate consideration be deferred until the whole case is adjudicated." Cohen v. Beneficial Indus. Loan Corp., 337 U.S. 541, 69 S.Ct. 1221, 93 L.Ed. 1528 (1949). To come within this "narrow exception," the order must, "at a minimum," meet three criteria:

First, it "must conclusively determine the disputed question"; second, it must "resolve an important issue completely separate from the merits of the action"; third, it must be "effectively unreviewable on appeal from a final judgment."

Flanagan, 465 U.S. at 265, 104 S.Ct. at 1055.

An order of commitment for psychiatric examination easily satisfies the requirements of the collateral order doctrine. First, the order here conclusively determines (a) there should be an examination of the defendant's competency to stand trial, and (b) the government is entitled to an examination of the defendant's mental state at the time of the offense. While the district court order did not finally decide the defendant's competency or mental capacity at the time of the offense, the decisions reached are sufficiently conclusive to have been relied upon by the district court in ordering a forty-five day period of involuntary commitment, a serious consequence itself. United States v. Weissberger, 951 F.2d 392, 396 (D.C.Cir.1991). These issues are completely independent from the issue of the defendant's guilt or innocence of the crimes charged. Finally, the loss of liberty occasioned by the commitment for examination, and the forced intrusion of a court-ordered psychiatric examination, are completely unreviewable by the time of final judgment. Appellate review after final judgment would be available only if the defendant is found guilty, and even then, no effective relief could be provided for her loss of liberty during the period of commitment. United States v. Weissberger, 951 F.2d 392, 396 (D.C.Cir.1991); United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 239 (2d Cir.1986) (discussing unreviewability of an order of commitment); see United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 707 (6th Cir.1989) (implicitly recognizing proper exercise of jurisdiction over appeal from order of commitment to determine competency).

Therefore, the district court's order of commitment falls within that narrow class of cases reviewable on interlocutory appeal under the collateral order doctrine, and this Court has jurisdiction over the instant appeal. We now turn to the merits of the defendant's appeal.

III. LAW AND ANALYSIS

Defendant presents three issues for review. First, defendant argues that a defendant who gives notice of her intent to present psychiatric evidence of her mental state at the time of the offense is not subject to pretrial commitment for examination under Fed.R.Crim.P. 12.2(c) or under 18 U.S.C. § 4242, because those provisions only authorize psychiatric examination concerning the defendant's sanity, which is not at issue here. Second, defendant claims the district court erred by ordering her committed for a competency examination, because there was no evidence in the record to support a determination of reasonable cause to question the defendant's competency, nor was there any showing that commitment was necessary to perform a competency examination. Finally, defendant asserts her involuntary commitment for forty-five days violates her fifth amendment right to due process.

A. Competency Examination

We first address defendant's contention that the district court erred by committing her for a competency examination. The government...

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70 practice notes
  • Pierce v. Blaine, No. 04-9000.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • October 24, 2006
    ...United States v. Deters, 143 F.3d 577 (10th Cir.1998); United States v. Rinaldi, 351 F.3d 285 (7th Cir.2003); United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286 (6th Cir.1996); and United States v. Weissberger, 951 F.2d 392 (D.C.Cir.1991), apply here, because the commitment is involuntary and the questio......
  • U.S. v. Leggett, No. 96-7772
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 3, 1998
    ...court must have "reasonable doubt" as to defendant's ability to grasp proceedings to order a competency hearing); United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1290 (6th Cir.1996) (noting that district court must have " 'reasonable cause to believe' the defendant [is] incompetent") (quoting 18 U.S.......
  • United States v. Dubrule, Nos. 14–6290
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • May 6, 2016
    ...‘[i]t does not follow that because a 822 F.3d 876 person is mentally ill he is not competent to stand trial.’ ” United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1290 (6th Cir.1996) (quoting Newfield v. United States, 565 F.2d 203, 206 (2d Cir.1977) ); see also United States v. Miller, 531 F.3d 340, 35......
  • U.S. v. Brandon, No. 97-3812
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 23, 1998
    ...this court to review his due-process claim after he has been forcibly medicated and the trial has concluded. See United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1289 (6th Cir.1996) ("[L]oss of liberty occasioned by the commitment for examination, and the forced intrusion of a court-ordered psychiatri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
70 cases
  • Pierce v. Blaine, No. 04-9000.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • October 24, 2006
    ...United States v. Deters, 143 F.3d 577 (10th Cir.1998); United States v. Rinaldi, 351 F.3d 285 (7th Cir.2003); United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286 (6th Cir.1996); and United States v. Weissberger, 951 F.2d 392 (D.C.Cir.1991), apply here, because the commitment is involuntary and the questio......
  • U.S. v. Leggett, No. 96-7772
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit)
    • December 3, 1998
    ...court must have "reasonable doubt" as to defendant's ability to grasp proceedings to order a competency hearing); United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1290 (6th Cir.1996) (noting that district court must have " 'reasonable cause to believe' the defendant [is] incompetent") (quoting 18 U.S.......
  • United States v. Dubrule, Nos. 14–6290
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • May 6, 2016
    ...‘[i]t does not follow that because a 822 F.3d 876 person is mentally ill he is not competent to stand trial.’ ” United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1290 (6th Cir.1996) (quoting Newfield v. United States, 565 F.2d 203, 206 (2d Cir.1977) ); see also United States v. Miller, 531 F.3d 340, 35......
  • U.S. v. Brandon, No. 97-3812
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • October 23, 1998
    ...this court to review his due-process claim after he has been forcibly medicated and the trial has concluded. See United States v. Davis, 93 F.3d 1286, 1289 (6th Cir.1996) ("[L]oss of liberty occasioned by the commitment for examination, and the forced intrusion of a court-ordered psychiatri......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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