Carpenter v. Brown, et al

Filing 140

ORDER REGARDING COMPETENCY. Signed by Judge Maxine M. Chesney on December 2, 2008. (mmcsec, COURT STAFF) (Filed on 12/2/2008)

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1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California DAVID J. CARPENTER, Petitioner, v. ROBERT L. AYERS, Jr., Warden of California State Prison at San Quentin, Respondent. 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 NOS. C 98-2444 MMC C-00-3706 MMC ORDER REGARDING COMPETENCY DEATH PENALTY CASES Background By order dated March 11, 2008, this Court ordered that petitioner's competency be 20 determined in a timely manner, pursuant to Rohan ex rel. Gates v. Woodford, 334 F.3d 803, 817, 21 cert. denied, 540 U.S. 1069 (2003). The Court based its determination that an examination was 22 required on the following factors: petitioner's claims of current incompetency as set forth in both of 23 his petitions; the fact that both of his petitions contain the types of claims the Ninth Circuit has 24 indicated cannot be litigated if a habeas petitioner is incompetent, see Rohan, 334 F.3d at 818; 25 petitioner's long-standing mental health issues and history of psychiatric illness; and the report 26 submitted by petitioner's expert with respect to petitioner's mental status, (see Declaration of 27 Psychiatrist David V. Foster, M.D. at 20). 28 1 Petitioner and respondent subsequently stipulated to a single expert, Dr. Robert Roesch, to 2 examine petitioner. Pursuant to the Court's order of July 18, 2008, Dr. Roesch's evaluation 3 considered petitioner's competency in accordance with the following standard: Whether Mr. 4 Carpenter has the capacity to appreciate his position and make rational choices with respect to 5 proceedings in this Court or, on the other hand, whether he is suffering from a mental disease, 6 disorder or defect that may substantially affect his capacity. See Rees v. Peyton, 384 U.S. 312 7 (1966). In addition, Dr. Roesch considered whether petitioner has the capacity to "communicate 8 rationally with counsel regarding this matter." See Rohan ex rel. Gates v. Woodford, 334 F.3d 803, 9 819 (9th Cir. 2003). 10 Dr. Roesch's Evaluation and Report Dr. Roesch examined petitioner over a three day period in September 2008 and administered United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 various psychological tests. In his detailed report, dated October 13, 2008, Dr. Roesch addressed the 13 questions specified in the Court's order of July 18, 2008 and concluded petitioner is competent 14 under the relevant standard.1 Neither petitioner nor respondent has filed any objections to Dr. 15 Roesch's report. 16 17 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law Based on the filings in the instant cases, and Dr. Roesch's uncontested report, this Court 18 hereby finds as follows: 19 1. Petitioner currently has the capacity to appreciate his position and make rational choices 20 with respect to legal proceedings; 21 2. Petitioner is not currently suffering from a mental disease, disorder, or defect that may 22 substantially affect his capacity to appreciate his position and make rational choices with respect to 23 legal proceedings; 24 25 3. Petitioner currently has the capacity to communicate rationally with his counsel; 4. Petitioner is currently competent under the standard set forth in Rohan ex rel. Gates v. 26 Woodford, 334 F.3d 803 (9th Cir. 2003). 27 28 1 Dr. Roesch's report was filed under seal and thus will not be directly quoted in this Order. 2 1 2 Conclusion For the foregoing reasons, the Court finds and concludes that petitioner is competent to 3 litigate his habeas petitions in this Court. Apart from the issue of petitioner's current competency, 4 petitioner's cases are currently stayed pending his appeal to the Ninth Circuit with respect to the 5 terms of the Court's protective order. Once the appeal is completed and the stays terminated, the 6 parties are directed to set a status conference with the Court to determine a litigation schedule to 7 resolve petitioner's remaining claims. 8 9 10 IT IS SO ORDERED. DATED: December 2, 2008 MAXINE M. CHESNEY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE United States District Court 11 For the Northern District of California 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 3

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