United States v. Spann, 011121 FED8, 19-3573

Docket Nº:19-3573
Opinion Judge:COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.
Party Name:United States of America, Plaintiff- Appellee, v. Fita E. Spann, Defendant-Appellant.
Judge Panel:Before COLLOTON, GRUENDER, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.
Case Date:January 11, 2021
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

United States of America, Plaintiff- Appellee,

v.

Fita E. Spann, Defendant-Appellant.

No. 19-3573

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

January 11, 2021

Submitted: September 25, 2020

Appeal from United States District Court for the Western District of Missouri - Springfield

Before COLLOTON, GRUENDER, and GRASZ, Circuit Judges.

COLLOTON, Circuit Judge.

Fita Spann was ordered committed to the custody of the Attorney General based on a mental disease or defect and a substantial risk of dangerousness. Later, he was conditionally released to the community. The district court1 then revoked Spann's conditional release after he violated several conditions. Spann appeals and argues that the district court was required to order a mental health examination before deciding whether to revoke the conditional release. We conclude that no such examination was required, and that revocation was appropriate based on a finding that Spann violated the conditions of his release. We therefore affirm the district court's order and judgment.

Spann was charged in a federal criminal indictment in 1999 in the Southern District of Mississippi. In May 2000, the district court found that Spann was mentally incompetent to stand trial and ordered him committed to the custody of the Attorney General for further mental health evaluations. See 18 U.S.C. § 4241(d). Under federal law, if a defendant's mental condition does not improve within a reasonable time so that criminal proceedings may go forward, then he is subject to other proceedings concerning release or commitment of a person with a mental disease or defect. See id. §§ 4241(d)(2), 4246.

In February 2001, after Spann was examined by professionals at the federal medical center in Missouri, the government petitioned to commit Spann to the custody of the Attorney General for hospitalization and treatment. The petition suggested that Spann suffered from a mental disease or defect, and that "his release would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to property of another." See id. § 4246(d).

After a hearing, the district court in Western Missouri found by clear and convincing evidence that Spann "suffers from a mental disease or defect, as a result of which his release would create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to property of another." In June 2001, therefore, the court ordered Spann committed to the custody of the Attorney General for hospitalization and treatment. See id. The statute provides for the commitment to continue until "the person's mental condition is such that his release, or his conditional release under a prescribed regimen of medical, psychiatric, or psychological care or treatment would not create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to property of another." Id. § 4246(d)(2).

The district court released Spann on conditions in May 2008, but he was arrested in July 2008 and referred for further psychological evaluation. The court released Spann on conditions again in December 2008, but the court revoked his release in September 2009, and returned Spann to the custody of the Attorney General for further treatment.

In February 2015, the government moved for Spann's third conditional release from custody. The district court granted the motion, finding that Spann's release on a set of conditions would no longer create a substantial risk of bodily injury to another person or serious damage to property of another. See id. § 4246(e)(2). The court established several conditions of release, including that Spann must reside in a residential treatment facility, abide by the rules of the facility, comply with a recommended treatment regimen while in the facility, and stay at the facility unless granted permission to leave by a probation officer.

After Spann had been released for four years, the government notified the court that Spann had violated the conditions and moved to revoke his release under 18 U.S.C. § 4246(f). The government informed the court that the treatment facility sought Spann's removal due to his refusal to attend treatment sessions, his attempts to leave the facility without...

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