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Court determines what ails the PAMites!

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  • rlbaty50
    Finally, we have a name to put on the problem with the PAMites. It is official. Even Harold Helm has to appreciate this, since it comes right out of his
    Message 1 of 1 , May 5, 2004
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      Finally, we have a name to put on the problem with the PAMites. It
      is official. Even Harold Helm has to appreciate this, since it comes
      right out of his mental health "bible". This is going to be a must
      read for all those interested in following the PAMites.

      It is called "persecutory delusional disorder" and is pursuant to the
      Diagnostics and Statistical Manual IV-TR.

      See the case following my name below for details.

      Robert Baty



      Release Date: APRIL 29, 2004



      Before: MARTIN and ROGERS, Circuit Judges; BELL, District Judge./*/

      [1] This is a direct appeal from a district court judgment finding
      Roy Wilfred Wooten incompetent to stand trial. The parties have
      agreed to waive oral argument and, upon examination, this panel
      unanimously agrees that oral argument is not needed. Fed. R. App. P.

      [2] On November 14, 2001, Roy Wilfred Wooten, a professional
      musician, was indicted on four counts of tax evasion, in violation of
      26 U.S.C. section 7201. Wooten's subsequent conduct caused the
      district court to question Wooten's competency to stand trial. Wooten
      underwent several competency evaluations, the results of which
      convinced the district court that Wooten was, in fact, incompetent to
      stand trial within the meaning of 18 U.S.C. section 4241(d).
      Accordingly, the district court ordered that Wooten be committed to
      the custody of the Attorney General of the United States for further
      evaluation and treatment. This commitment order was stayed, however,
      pending Wooten's appeal to this Court.

      [3] The only issue before this panel is whether the district court
      erred in concluding that Wooten was incompetent to stand trial. The
      district court's determination will not be disturbed on appeal unless
      clearly erroneous. United States v. Shepard, 538 F.2d 107, 110 (6th
      Cir. 1976).

      [4] After his indictment on charges related to tax evasion, Wooten
      was released on an unsecured bond. He subsequently appeared before
      the district court when ordered to do so, but his participation in
      the district court proceedings was defined by his insistence on
      responding to virtually every question with arcane, pseudo-legal
      jargon commonly associated with tax protestor literature. He also
      repeatedly proclaimed his beliefs that the federal government is
      bankrupt, the Department of the Navy runs the country under Admiralty
      Law and the Uniform Commercial Code, the Internal Revenue Service is
      really a foreign debt collector based in Puerto Rico and that Wooten,
      who lives in Nashville, is not actually a resident of the United
      States. Wooten also filed volumes of pleadings, many signed only with
      his thumb print, that the district court found virtually
      indecipherable. Faced with these abnormalities, the district court,
      fearing that Wooten might not be competent to assist in his own
      defense, ordered a competency evaluation. The district court
      concluded that the results of the first evaluation were unreliable
      because of the examiner's inexperience and therefore ordered Wooten
      to submit to another evaluation by a different mental health
      professional, Dr. Pamela Auble.

      [5] Dr. Auble, a neuropsychologist, spent approximately four hours
      interviewing Wooten and also reviewed a significant amount of
      documentation that was provided to her. She ultimately concluded that
      Wooten suffered from a persecutory delusional disorder. Pursuant to
      the Diagnostics and Statistical Manual IV-TR, a diagnosis of
      persecutory delusional disorder is appropriate if the following
      factors are satisfied:

      (1) non-bizarre delusions of at least one month's duration;

      (2) criteria A for schizophrenia is not met;

      (3) apart from the impact of delusions or its ramifications,
      functioning is not markedly impaired and behavior is not
      obviously odd or bizarre;

      (4) if mood episodes occur with the delusions, their total
      duration has been brief relative to the duration of the
      delusional periods; and

      (5) the disturbances cannot be due to the direct physiological
      effects of a substance like a drug of abuse or a medication, or
      a general medical condition.

      Dr. Auble acknowledged that Wooten understood the charges against him
      as well as the roles of the various individuals in the courtroom, but
      she nevertheless concluded that Wooten's belief system affected his
      behavior such that it interfered with his ability to function in a
      courtroom setting.

      [6] Wooten disagreed with Dr. Auble's opinion and insisted that he
      was competent to stand trial. He presented two witnesses -- Dr. Jack
      Gilliland and Dr. Lindley Murray, both psychologists -- to counter
      Dr. Auble's testimony. Dr. Gilliland conducted a competency
      evaluation consisting of personal interviews with Wooten and a review
      of various documents that Wooten provided to him. Dr. Gilliland
      testified that he and Dr. Murray -- who conducted the psychological
      assessment portion of the evaluation but who did not review any
      documents in much detail -- had both concluded that Wooten was
      competent to stand trial.

      [7] After holding a hearing and considering all the relevant
      evidence, the district court found "by a preponderance of the
      evidence that Mr. Wooten is suffering from a mental disease or defect
      of delusional disorder," which "prevents Mr. Wooten from assisting
      properly in his defense." Accordingly, the district court concluded
      that Wooten was not mentally competent to stand trial within the
      meaning of 18 U.S.C. section 4241. The district court found the
      opinion of Dr. Auble credible, especially as it was corroborated by
      the court's own observations of Wooten's behavior in court and the
      numerous "irrational" documents that he had filed. The district court
      credited Dr. Auble's testimony over that of Dr. Gilliland and Dr.
      Murray because of Dr. Auble's "greater experience" and because "Dr.
      Gilliland and Dr. Murray did not review all the pertinent documents,
      didn't review all the transcripts, and didn't do, in my opinion, a
      thorough evaluation of Mr. Wooten on that basis." Wooten was ordered
      committed to the custody of the Attorney General of the United
      States, but the commitment order was stayed in order to allow him to
      pursue this appeal.

      [8] It is beyond peradventure that one may not be tried for a crime
      unless he is mentally competent to stand trial. Godinez v. Moran, 509
      U.S. 389, 396 (1993). The "test of whether a defendant is competent
      to stand trial is 'whether he has sufficient present ability to
      consult with his lawyer with a reasonable degree of rational
      understanding and whether he has a rationale as well as factual
      understanding of the proceedings against him.'" United States v.
      Murphy, 107 F.3d 1199, 1203 (6th Cir. 1997) (citing Dusky v. United
      States, 362 U.S. 402, 402 (1960)). A defendant shall be deemed
      incompetent where a 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." 18 U.S.C. section

      [9] We believe that the district court's determination that Wooten
      was incompetent to stand trial finds ample support in the record. In
      making its determination, the district court properly relied upon the
      expert testimony of neuropsychologist Dr. Auble -- which the court
      reasonably found to be more credible than the testimony of Dr.
      Gilliland and Dr. Murray -- as well as the court's own observations
      of Wooten throughout the pre-trial proceedings. That Wooten
      was "unable . . . to assist properly in his defense" is further
      illustrated by one particular episode in which he completely
      undermined his counsel's successful attempt to redact incriminating
      evidence from Dr. Auble's report and to protect Wooten's Fifth
      Amendment privileges. We also note that appointed counsel for Wooten
      and the United States Attorney both agree that the district court's
      decision should be affirmed as not clearly erroneous, and Wooten's
      letter to this Court in response to his counsel's brief does not
      challenge that conclusion.

      [10] Under these circumstances, we are unable to say that the
      district court's determination that Wooten was incompetent to stand
      trial was clearly erroneous./1/ Therefore, the district court's
      judgment is AFFIRMED.



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