United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER ON PRELIMINARY HEARING
AND DETENTION HEARING
LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
March 8, 2017, the Court held a preliminary hearing and a
detention hearing (the "Hearing") in this matter.
Fentress appeared for the United States. James Earhart
appeared for Alisha Clayton, who was present and in the
custody of the United States Marshals Service.
Government's motion for competency evaluation
beginning of the Hearing, the government moved for a
custodial competency examination. See 18 U.S.C.
§§ 4241(a) & 4247(b). Ms. Clayton objected to a
custodial examination, but Ms. Clayton did not
object to undergoing a noncustodial examination.
government or a defendant moves for a competency hearing, the
Court shall grant the motion if there is reasonable cause to
believe that the defendant is presently "suffering from
a mental disease or defect rendering [her] mentally
incompetent to the extent that [she] is unable to understand
the nature and consequences of the proceedings against [her]
or to assist properly in [her] defense." Id.
§ 4241(a). Even if no party moves for a competency
hearing, the Court has the duty to inquire as to a
defendant's competency "whenever there is reasonable
cause to believe that the defendant is incompetent to stand
trial." United States v. Dubrule, 822 F.3d 866,
879(6thCir. May 6, 2016).
discussed on the record at the Hearing, the Court observed
Ms. Clayton's behavior at the March 7 initial appearance.
The Court had misgivings about her competency based on her
behavior in Court, her answers under oath at the initial
appearance, and based upon discussions with Court staff.
Specifically, the Court noted that Ms. Clayton had to be
taken to the hospital the morning of her initial appearance,
and the initial appearance was rescheduled until Ms. Clayton
returned from the hospital that afternoon. The Court also
noted that if no party had moved for a competency evaluation
at the Hearing, the Court had considered ordering an
examination sua sponte. See Dubrule, 822 F.3d at
Hearing, the Court found reasonable cause to believe that Ms.
Clayton may presently be suffering from a mental disease or
defect that renders her mentally incompetent to the extent
that she is unable to understand the nature and consequences
of the proceedings against her or to assist properly in her
defense. See 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). The Court
granted the government's motion in part to the extent it
sought a hearing to determine Ms. Clayton's competency.
Court denied the government's motion to the extent that
it sought a custodial competency examination. The
A psychiatric or psychological examination ordered pursuant
to this chapter shall be conducted by a licensed or certified
psychiatrist or psychologist, or, if the court finds it
appropriate, by more than one such examiner. Each examiner
shall be designated by the court .... For the purposes of an
examination pursuant to an order under section 4241 ... the
court may commit the person to be examined for a
reasonable period, but not to exceed thirty days ... to the
custody of the Attorney General for placement in a suitable
Id. § 4247(b) (emphasis added).
the Court may commit a defendant to the Attorney
General's custody for a psychiatric or psychological
examination for thirty days. But, the statute does not
require the Court to order a custodial commitment so
that the defendant may undergo an examination. See,
e.g., United States v. Law son, 2013 WL 1498893
(E.D. Ky. 2013) ("Because the Defendant is not in
pretrial custody, the Court appointed Dr. Paul Anthony Ebben,
Psy. D., to conduct a noncustodial competency
evaluation."); see also, United States v.
Bussell, 2011 WL 2037013 *2 E.D. Tenn. 2011)
("Although the Court has discretion to order that the
Defendant be committed for the mental evaluation, the statute
does not require an inpatient examination."); cf.
United States v. Rayyan, 2016 WL 1746013 *5 (E.D. Mich.
2016) ("Moreover, defendant has already been detained;
thus, any restraint on his liberty is less consequential than
if he were out on bond.").
Hearing, the Court made clear that it would consider the
government's pretrial detention motion separate from its
determination as to whether it will order Ms. Clayton to
undergo an examination. Accordingly, the Court ordered Ms.
Clayton to undergo a noncustodial psychiatric or
psychological examination. See 18 U.S.C. §
4141(b). The Court also ordered the parties to confer
regarding whether they can agree on a licensed or certified
psychiatrist or psychologist to conduct the examination.
the Court held a preliminary hearing on the criminal
complaint. See Fed. R. Crim. P. 5.1. The criminal
complaint charges Ms. Clayton with violating 18 U.S.C. §
1512(b)(1) for knowingly threatening "a ...