U.S. v. Gold, No. 916

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore KEARSE and CARDAMONE, Circuit Judges, and POLLACK; KEARSE; Defendant Arnold Gold appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, John E. Sprizzo
Citation790 F.2d 235
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Appellee, v. Arnold GOLD, Defendant-Appellant. ocket 85-1403.
Docket NumberD,No. 916
Decision Date07 May 1986

Page 235

790 F.2d 235
UNITED STATES of America, Appellee,
v.
Arnold GOLD, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 916, Docket 85-1403.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Submitted March 10, 1986.
Decided May 7, 1986.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, U.S. Atty., S.D.N.Y. (Arthur W. Mercado, Asst. U.S. Atty., New York City, of counsel), for appellee.

Thomas F. Liotti, Carle Place, N.Y., for defendant-appellant, filed brief pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967).

Before KEARSE and CARDAMONE, Circuit Judges, and POLLACK, District Judge. *

KEARSE, Circuit Judge:

Defendant Arnold Gold appeals from an order of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, John E. Sprizzo, Judge, entered pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241 (Supp. II 1984), finding Gold to be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to stand trial and committing him to the custody of the United States Attorney General for hospitalization in a suitable facility for at least four months. Gold's appointed counsel has moved pursuant to Anders v. California, 386 U.S. 738, 87 S.Ct. 1396, 18 L.Ed.2d 493 (1967), to be relieved as appointed counsel on the ground that the appeal presents no nonfrivolous issue. Gold has requested that new

Page 236

counsel be assigned to represent him on this appeal. We agree with Gold's counsel that the commitment order creates no nonfrivolous issues for review on appeal, and we therefore affirm the order of commitment, grant counsel's motion to be relieved as appointed counsel, and deny Gold's motion for the appointment of new appellate counsel to represent him. We write here principally to clarify the matter of our jurisdiction to entertain Gold's appeal.

Background

In August 1984, Gold was charged in a one-count indictment with having mailed a threatening communication, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 876 (1982). The alleged communication was a four-page letter from Gold to the Manhattan District Attorney, demanding $1,000,000 and threatening to injure him. The preindictment complaint alleged that along with this letter, Gold mailed a machete. Gold was arrested and sent to the United States Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri ("Springfield"), for evaluation. Psychiatric evaluations of Gold proceeded until February 1985; in March 1985, the government moved for Gold's commitment on the ground that he was not competent to stand trial. Judge Sprizzo scheduled a competency hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241.

The hearing was commenced in April 1985. At that time Dr. James R. Leach, chief of forensic psychiatry at Springfield, testified that he believed Gold "did not have the mental capacity to have a reasonable and factual understanding of the legal proceedings against him and ... that he probably could not assist his attorney in preparing his defense." Gold testified in opposition to the government's motion. He disagreed with Dr. Leach's evaluation and testified that Dr. Leach had threatened him.

At the end of the April hearing, Judge Sprizzo stated that while he thought Dr. Leach's opinion was well-founded, he was "not convinced that some of the diagnosis may not have been impacted by this defendant's uncooperative attitude at Springfield or his personal problems there." Accordingly, Judge Sprizzo ordered that Gold be examined by another forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Naomi Goldstein.

Dr. Goldstein examined Gold and advised the court of her evaluation both by letter and in testimony at a further hearing. Her August 1985 letter stated that she found Gold to be "terribly confused with substantial distortion of events around him which pertain closely and importantly to him including his legal situation," and "experiencing a series of delusional beliefs about technologies that control the mind." Dr. Goldstein noted that although Gold does not want to appear to be mentally sick,

[h]e lives in a world in which all of his behavior is considered to be the product of various untoward influences, whether it be injection, or some other form of mind control. He talks of communications within his head, of special messages and transmittors, etc. He basically blames a series of significant people for all his difficulties.

Her diagnosis was that Gold was suffering "[s]chizophrenia, chronic, undifferentiated type with significant paranoid ideation." Her

professional opinion [was] that Mr. Gold is not competent to proceed. While he has a clear understanding of the charges and the proceedings, his ability to cooperate rationally is markedly impaired by the profound delusional experiences which inform so much of his thinking.

Dr. Goldstein concluded that she did "not believe that Mr. Gold can cooperate rationally in his own defense." At the resumed hearing before Judge Sprizzo in October 1985, Dr. Goldstein reaffirmed the views stated in her August 1985 letter to the court.

After the October hearing, Judge Sprizzo entered an order of commitment pursuant to 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241(d). Based on the testimony of Drs. Goldstein and Leach, and on letters written to the court by Gold, the court concluded that Gold was "presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to stand trial," and it accordingly ordered that

Page 237

Gold be committed to the custody of the United States Attorney General for hospitalization in a suitable facility. The commitment was for a period of four months to determine whether there was a substantial probability that in the foreseeable future Gold would attain the capacity to permit the trial to proceed, "and for an additional reasonable period of time as provided ... in 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241(d)(2)."

This appeal followed.

Appellate Jurisdiction

Section 4241(a) of 18 U.S.C. provides that, upon motion of the government, the defendant, or the court, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine the mental competency of the defendant if there is reasonable cause to believe the defendant is not competent to stand trial. Section 4241(d) provides as follows:

If, after the hearing, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist properly in his defense, the court shall commit the defendant to the custody of the Attorney General. The Attorney General shall hospitalize the defendant for treatment in a suitable facility--

(1) for such a reasonable period of time, not to exceed four months, as is necessary to determine whether there is a...

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41 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Magassouba, Docket No. 06-2628-cr.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • September 19, 2008
    ...States v. Robinson, 473 F.3d 487, 490 (2d Cir.2007); United States v. Olmeda, 461 F.3d 271, 278 (2d Cir.2006); United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 237 (2d Cir.1986). An order denying a motion to dismiss an indictment is usually viewed as "interlocutory and not appealable." United States v.......
  • United States v. Loughner, Nos. 11–10339
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 5, 2012
    ...order “conclusively determines [Loughner]'s ‘present right to be at liberty prior to trial.’ ” Id. at 979 (quoting United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 239 (2d Cir.1986)). Second, “the issue of involuntary commitment is completely separate from the issue of whether [Loughner] committed the ......
  • U.S.A v. Culbertson, Docket No. 09-0485-cr.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • March 10, 2010
    ...a psychiatric examination is immediately appealable, although we have alluded to that question in dictum. In United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235 (2d Cir.1986), we were confronted with the appeal of a pretrial order finding the defendant mentally incompetent to stand trial and committing him......
  • State v. Byrge, No. 97-3217-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 13, 2000
    ...Cir. 1990) (citing Fulford for proposition that "[a] defendant's competence to stand trial is a question of fact"); United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 239-40 (2d Cir. 1986); Smith v. Freeman, 892 F.2d 331, 341 (3d Cir. 1989) (competence to stand trial is a question of fact); Fields v. Mur......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
41 cases
  • U.S. v. Magassouba, Docket No. 06-2628-cr.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • September 19, 2008
    ...States v. Robinson, 473 F.3d 487, 490 (2d Cir.2007); United States v. Olmeda, 461 F.3d 271, 278 (2d Cir.2006); United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 237 (2d Cir.1986). An order denying a motion to dismiss an indictment is usually viewed as "interlocutory and not appealable." United States v.......
  • United States v. Loughner, Nos. 11–10339
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (9th Circuit)
    • March 5, 2012
    ...order “conclusively determines [Loughner]'s ‘present right to be at liberty prior to trial.’ ” Id. at 979 (quoting United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 239 (2d Cir.1986)). Second, “the issue of involuntary commitment is completely separate from the issue of whether [Loughner] committed the ......
  • U.S.A v. Culbertson, Docket No. 09-0485-cr.
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
    • March 10, 2010
    ...a psychiatric examination is immediately appealable, although we have alluded to that question in dictum. In United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235 (2d Cir.1986), we were confronted with the appeal of a pretrial order finding the defendant mentally incompetent to stand trial and committing him......
  • State v. Byrge, No. 97-3217-CR.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wisconsin
    • July 13, 2000
    ...Cir. 1990) (citing Fulford for proposition that "[a] defendant's competence to stand trial is a question of fact"); United States v. Gold, 790 F.2d 235, 239-40 (2d Cir. 1986); Smith v. Freeman, 892 F.2d 331, 341 (3d Cir. 1989) (competence to stand trial is a question of fact); Fields v. Mur......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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