United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division
RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION 
A. INGRAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a year ago, Defendant Ron Odell Harrison, through counsel,
filed a motion for a competency evaluation and to determine
the existence of insanity at the time of the alleged offense.
D.E. 15. A lengthy series of proceedings and evaluations
ensued, as described in further detail below. Now, the Bureau
of Prisons has completed a forensic evaluation (“the
Report”) opining that Defendant is competent to stand
trial, and it has filed a certificate of Defendant's
restoration of competency to stand trial. See D.E.
55; D.E. 57. In light of the Report, and the parties'
stipulation to it, and the certificate of Defendant's
restoration of competency, the undersigned recommends that
District Judge Boom find Defendant competent to face further
proceedings in this case.
the filing of Defendant's motion for a competency
evaluation, see Docket Entry 15, the Court conducted an
initial competency hearing, per 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a), see
Docket Entry 18. The United States joined Defendant's
motion, which the Court construed as a notice of an insanity
defense under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2(a).
D.E. 18. The United States then moved for an insanity
evaluation pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4242(a) and Rule
12.2(c)(1)(B). Id. Based on counsel's
representations, and the Court's examination and
observation of Defendant during the hearing, the Court found
that there was reasonable cause to believe that Defendant may
be suffering from mental disease or defect rendering him
mentally incompetent, as defined in § 4241(a).
See D.E. 19. Therefore, upon the required findings,
the Court ordered a psychiatric evaluation to determine
Defendant's competency and whether he was insane at the
time of the offense charged. Id.
that Court-ordered evaluation, Defendant was housed at the
Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, New York, from
March 20 to June 5, 2018. D.E. 36. On June 15, the BOP
transmitted to the undersigned an evaluation regarding
Defendant's competency to stand trial. See D.E.
35; D.E. 35-1. In that report, Dr. Samantha E. DiMisa, Ph.D.,
described “a gross change in [Defendant's] mental
status, ” and opined that Defendant was not competent
for his case to proceed because he: possessed a factual, but
not rational, understanding of the proceedings against him;
was unable to assist legal counsel in his defense; and did
not have the ability to adequately make decisions regarding
his legal strategy. See D.E. 35 at 26, 30.
Dr. DiMisa found that, at that time, Defendant was “not
currently capable of cooperating with defense attorney and
making decisions regarding legal proceedings nor maintaining
proper courtroom behavior” and that he had been
experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations. Id.
at 29. Further, Dr. DiMisa found that Defendant met the
criteria for six diagnoses: (1) Schizoaffective Disorder,
Depressive Type, Multiple Episodes, Currently in Acute
Episode; (2) Paranoid Personality Disorder; (3) Stimulant Use
Disorder, Amphetamine-type Substance, Mild, in a Controlled
Environment; (4) Tobacco Use Disorder, Moderate, in a
Controlled Environment; (5) Alcohol Use Disorder, Mild, in a
Controlled Environment; and (6) Adult Antisocial Behavior.
Id. at 22.
receipt of the report, the Court ordered it filed in the
record, see Docket Entry 34, and held a competency hearing,
see Docket Entry 37. At that hearing, counsel for the defense
and for the government stipulated to the admissibility of the
report and to the qualifications of the individuals who
prepared it. D.E. 37. Both counsel waived the examination of
the preparers of the report, see id., and the Court
subsequently entered a recommended disposition finding
Defendant was “presently suffering from a mental
disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the
extent that he [wa]s unable to understand the nature and
consequences of the proceedings against him or to assist
properly in his defense per § 4241(d), ” see
Docket Entry 38 at 4. Following Judge Boom's adoption of
that recommendation, see Docket Entry 44, the Court committed
Defendant to the custody of the Attorney General to be
hospitalized for treatment for a reasonable period of time,
not to exceed four months, to determine whether Defendant
would attain capacity to permit these proceedings to go
forward, see Docket Entry 46 at 1-2.
was housed at FMC Butner in Butner, North Carolina, for
further evaluation and treatment from July 24 to November 19,
2018. See D.E. 72. Notably, during that time period,
the Court conducted a status conference concerning
Defendant's continued restorative treatment. D.E. 52.
After completing that evaluation, the BOP forwarded the
Report to the undersigned and filed its certificate of
Defendant's restoration of competency. D.E. 55; D.E. 57;
see also 18 U.S.C. § 4241(e). The Report was
authored by Kristina P. Lloyd, Psy.D., ABPP, and in it, Dr.
Lloyd discusses her opinion that Defendant is competent to
proceed to trial. Id. at 14-15.
receipt of Dr. Lloyd's report and the certificate of
Defendant's restoration of competency and circulation of
both documents, the Court scheduled a hearing pursuant to 18
U.S.C. §§ 4241 and 4247(d). See D.E. 58.
However, after one continuance of that hearing, defense
counsel filed an ex parte motion requesting funds
under the Criminal Justice Act to hire a psychologist to
assist him in the “preparation of a proper competency
argument.” See D.E. 61 at 1. The Court granted
that request. See D.E. 62. Subsequently, the Court
entered an order setting Defendant's final competency
hearing for February 20, 2019. See D.E. 69.
hearing, Defendant appeared with his counsel, and defense
counsel represented to the Court that he had reviewed the
Report by Dr. Lloyd and the certificate of restoration of
competency with Defendant and had consulted with the approved
psychologist. D.E. 70. Further, counsel for both parties
stipulated to the admissibility of the Report, as well as Dr.
Lloyd's qualifications. Id. Both counsel also
waived the opportunity to offer additional proof into
evidence on the issue of Defendant's competency and the
opportunity to examine or cross-examine Dr. Lloyd. See
Id. Accordingly, no evidence in the record contradicts
Dr. Lloyd's report finding Defendant competent to proceed
Finding as to Competency
4241 codifies the competency principles of Dusky v.
United States, 362 U.S. 402 (1960) (per curiam). To be
competent, a defendant must have “sufficient present
ability to consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree
of rational understanding” and “a rational as
well as factual understanding of the proceedings against
him.” Id.; see also 18 U.S.C. §
4241(a) (phrasing test as whether defendant is “unable
to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings
against him or to assist properly in his defense”);
United States v. Nichols, 56 F.3d 403, 410 (2d Cir.
1995) (applying the “two-prong” competency test
4247(d) governs the hearing and assures certain trial-type
rights. These include rights of confrontation,
cross-examination, and participation. See 18 U.S.C.
§ 4247(d); see also 18 U.S.C. § 4241(c)
(referencing § 4247(d) for hearing procedure).
Ultimately, per § 4241(d), a defendant is not competent
if, “after the hearing, the court finds by a
preponderance of the evidence that the defendant” meets
the incompetency definition of § 4241(a). This framework
suggests that the defense bears the burden, although the
cases are in disagreement on burden allocation. Compare
United States v. Chapple, No. 94-5048, 1995 WL 6147, at
*2 (6th Cir. Jan. 6, 1995) (per curiam) (table) (burden on
United States, though without statutory analysis), and
United States v. Salley, 246 F.Supp.2d 970, 976 (N.D.
Ill. 2003) (burden on United States), with United States
v. Simmons, 993 F.Supp. 168, 170 (W.D.N.Y. 1998)
(“The burden to prove a lack of competence is on the
defendant.”). Here, the proof is not in any way
disputed, and the Court need not resolve the burden
allocation question. See, e.g., Medina v.
California, 505 U.S. 437, 449 (1992) (indicating that
argument over burden, in competency context, only matters in
“narrow class” of cases where proof is “in
discussed above, at the final hearing, neither party sought
to introduce evidence beyond the Report. Accordingly, the
only proof concerning Defendant's competency is the
expert analysis of Dr. Lloyd, and the Court finds that the
Report is a thorough and comprehensive assessment of
Defendant's mental and psychiatric condition. Notably,
the Report reflects personal observation by Dr. Lloyd, a
review of Defendant's available legal documents,
including his prior forensic evaluation, sufficient
psychological testing, and a thorough assessment of
Defendant's abilities in light of the applicable
competency standards. See D.E. 55 4-15. Further, Dr.
Lloyd analyzed the course of Defendant's restorative
treatment and his time at FMC Butner, see id. at
5-11; she also personally interviewed him and ...