U.S. v. White, No. 89-1143

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore KENNEDY, GUY and NORRIS; PER CURIAM
Citation887 F.2d 705
PartiesUNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. Shelton E. WHITE, Defendant-Appellant.
Docket NumberNo. 89-1143
Decision Date12 October 1989

Page 705

887 F.2d 705
UNITED STATES of America, Plaintiff-Appellee,
v.
Shelton E. WHITE, Defendant-Appellant.
No. 89-1143.
United States Court of Appeals,
Sixth Circuit.
Argued June 13, 1989.
Decided Oct. 12, 1989.

Page 706

Juanita Temple (argued), Office of the U.S. Atty., Detroit, Mich., for U.S.

Thomas V. Wilhelm (argued), Birmingham, Mich., for Shelton Eli White.

Before KENNEDY, GUY and NORRIS, Circuit Judges.

PER CURIAM.

Shelton Eli White was arrested on May 26, 1988, on charges of making threats to assassinate the President of the United States in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 871. The following day he appeared before Magistrate Lynn Hooe, who ordered him detained at the Wayne County, Michigan jail pending trial. On May 31, the government made an oral motion to determine White's competency to stand trial. Finding that there existed reasonable cause to believe that White was incompetent to stand trial, Magistrate Hooe granted the motion, and ordered that White be examined by Newton Jackson, a psychologist, at the Federal Correctional Institution at Milan, Michigan, and that Dr. Jackson submit a report of his findings to the court.

Dr. Jackson's report, filed on or about June 22, 1988, stated that White was clearly aware of the nature and object of the proceedings against him, but that he lacked the ability to cooperate in his own defense. The report included a recommendation that White be found incompetent to stand trial. A hearing was subsequently held, at which Dr. Jackson testified as to his findings. On June 30, Magistrate Hooe found White incompetent to stand trial and ordered him taken to the Federal Medical Center at Rochester, Minnesota, for psychotherapy and evaluation. The magistrate also ordered that a report be submitted to the court within sixty days "stating the present psychological status of the defendant."

Page 707

White arrived at the Medical Center on July 21. While in residence at the Center, White was examined by Dr. James Janecek. In a report dated September 14, 1988, Janecek indicated that White was incompetent to stand trial and that, even if he received the proper treatment, it was unlikely that White would be competent for two or three years. On November 4, White was returned to the Wayne County jail and placed in the custody of the United States Marshal.

During his commitment at Rochester, White filed suit against Magistrate Hooe, the prosecutor, and others. Magistrate Hooe therefore recused himself, and the matter was reassigned to Magistrate Virginia Morgan. On December 22, Magistrate Morgan held a hearing, at which Dr. Janecek testified that with proper treatment White could become competent to stand trial within a reasonable period of time. White also testified, indicating that he understood the nature of the proceedings against him and was able to assist in the preparation of his defense. Magistrate Morgan ordered White examined by an outside psychiatrist and set another hearing for December 29.

A hearing was held on December 29, although White failed to provide testimony from an outside psychiatrist. In response to an inquiry of the magistrate, White's attorney represented that White was able to assist in his own defense. At the conclusion of the hearing, Magistrate Morgan found White competent. However, she reserved the right to redetermine the issue of competency upon review of an independent psychiatrist's report, which White was ordered to provide the court within thirty days. The magistrate ordered White held until February 6, 1989, by which time the government was to indict White or dismiss the complaint, stating: "If I were to find White competent, that would force the government into the position of either dismissing the complaint or proceeding to indictment and giving Mr. White the process that he is due on these charges."

On January 17, 1989, an indictment was returned charging White with making threats to assassinate the President in violation of 18 U.S.C. Sec. 871. White filed a motion for bond, and on January 23 a hearing was held on the motion before Judge Paul Gadola. At the hearing, the government moved for another competency evaluation. In an order dated January 27, the district court found that there was reasonable cause to believe that White was suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him incompetent to stand trial. Accordingly, the court ordered that White be taken into the custody of the Attorney General for a period not to exceed four months for a determination of whether, in the foreseeable future, White would gain the capacity to permit trial to proceed. The district court, however, issued an order preventing transfer of White to a medical facility pending the outcome of an appeal. White now appeals the district court's order.

The question presented in this appeal is whether the district court properly considered the issue of competency at the hearing on bond, when a determination that White was competent to stand trial had been reached by the magistrate and had not been appealed by the government. A subsidiary question concerns whether the district court correctly applied the federal statute governing the competency proceedings.

Congress completed an overhaul of the process for determining the competency of a defendant to stand trial as a part of the modernization of federal criminal law which culminated in the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984. The key provision on mental competency is now 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241, which has replaced the former Sec. 4244. The enactment of Sec. 4241, a comprehensive provision detailing the standards and procedures for finding an individual mentally incompetent, provides a committing court with a strict process to which it must adhere for a competency determination to be valid.

In structuring the process for this determination, Congress recognized that it was bound by the parameters of the Due Process Clause. On...

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48 practice notes
  • U.S. v. Garrett, No. 89-1860
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 31, 1990
    ...his defense," "[t]he court shall grant the motion." 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241(a) (emphasis supplied); see United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 710 (6th Cir.1989). As the statutory language suggests, the need for competency also extends beyond trial to the sentencing phase of a pro......
  • United States v. Dubrule, Nos. 14–6290
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • May 6, 2016
    ...competency whenever there is ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.” United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 709 (6th Cir.1989). In determining whether there was “reasonable cause” to doubt the defendant's competency, we look to “evidence of a defendan......
  • A. Dubreuil and Sons, Inc. v. Town of Lisbon, No. 13779
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 10, 1990
    ...word "shall" denotes that the directive [215 Conn. 611] in the contract to arbitrate was mandatory. See United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 710 (6th Cir.1989); Daily v. New Britain Machine Co., 200 Conn. 562, 572, 512 A.2d 893 (1986); Hossan v. Hudiakoff, 178 Conn. 381, 383, 423......
  • United States v. Ross, Nos. 09–1852
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 31, 2012
    ...competency whenever there is ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.” United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 709 (6th Cir.1989). We need not decide whether Ross's behavior after the denial of the first competency motion constituted a change in circumst......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
48 cases
  • U.S. v. Garrett, No. 89-1860
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (7th Circuit)
    • May 31, 1990
    ...his defense," "[t]he court shall grant the motion." 18 U.S.C. Sec. 4241(a) (emphasis supplied); see United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 710 (6th Cir.1989). As the statutory language suggests, the need for competency also extends beyond trial to the sentencing phase of a pro......
  • United States v. Dubrule, Nos. 14–6290
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Sixth Circuit
    • May 6, 2016
    ...competency whenever there is ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.” United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 709 (6th Cir.1989). In determining whether there was “reasonable cause” to doubt the defendant's competency, we look to “evidence of a defendan......
  • A. Dubreuil and Sons, Inc. v. Town of Lisbon, No. 13779
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Connecticut
    • July 10, 1990
    ...word "shall" denotes that the directive [215 Conn. 611] in the contract to arbitrate was mandatory. See United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 710 (6th Cir.1989); Daily v. New Britain Machine Co., 200 Conn. 562, 572, 512 A.2d 893 (1986); Hossan v. Hudiakoff, 178 Conn. 381, 383, 423......
  • United States v. Ross, Nos. 09–1852
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (6th Circuit)
    • December 31, 2012
    ...competency whenever there is ‘reasonable cause to believe’ that the defendant is incompetent to stand trial.” United States v. White, 887 F.2d 705, 709 (6th Cir.1989). We need not decide whether Ross's behavior after the denial of the first competency motion constituted a change in circumst......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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