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United States v. Mills

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

August 19, 2019

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
EDWIN MILLS, et al., Defendants.

          ORDER DENYING DEFENDANT CARLO WILSON'S MOTION LIMITING USE OF MENTAL COMPETENCY EVIDENCE (Dkt. 999)

          Mark A. Goldsmith United States District Judge

         This matter is before the Court on Defendant Carlo Wilson's motion for an order that any confidential matters disclosed for purposes of a mental competency evaluation and hearing cannot be used against him for any other purposes (Dkt. 999). The Government has filed a response in opposition to the motion (Dkt. 1017), to which Wilson replied (Dkt. 1036).[1] For the reasons discussed below, the Court denies the motion.

         On June 25, 2019, Wilson filed a motion for a mental competency hearing under 18 U.S.C. § 4241 (Dkt. 965). In support of that motion, Wilson submitted a report from Dr. George W. Woods, Jr., in which Dr. Woods opines that Wilson is not presently competent to stand trial (Dkt. 965-1). The Court granted the motion on July 3, 2019, finding that there was reasonable cause to believe Wilson may presently be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to stand trial, and it directed the U.S. Marshals Service to transport Wilson to Metropolitan Correctional Center (“MCC”) Chicago for a mental competency evaluation. See 7/3/2019 Order at 1-2 (Dkt. 976). For purposes of that evaluation, the Court also ordered the following:

(1) That a psychiatrist or psychologist at MCC Chicago be directed to examine the mental condition of Wilson, see id. §§ 4241(a), (b), 4247(b);
(2) That the examining psychiatrist or psychologist prepare, as soon as practical, a written report that includes (1) Wilson's history and present symptoms; (2) a description of the psychiatric, psychological, and medical tests that were employed and their results; (3) the examiner's findings; and (4) the examiner's opinions as to diagnosis, prognosis, and whether Wilson is 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, see 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241(b), 4247(c); and
(3) That the examiner shall promptly file the written report with this Court and provide copies of the report to defense counsel and the attorney for the government, see id. § 4247(c). The report may be used by any party for purposes of a competency hearing, detention hearing, or any other purpose the Court may order.

Id. at 1-2.

         Wilson now seeks to limit the use of any disclosures he makes during the course of the mental competency evaluation, as well as various protections from disclosure to the Government of certain information Wilson's counsel provides to the evaluators at MCC Chicago. The Court will address Wilson's requests in turn.

         A. Limiting Use of Wilson's Statements Elicited During the Evaluation and Derivative Evidence for the Purpose of Determining Mental Competency Only

          To protect his Fifth and Sixth Amendment rights, Wilson argues that “any and all information” elicited from him during the mental competency evaluation, including statements and evidence derived from those statements, “be limited in use to the competency proceeding and that it not be used in any other way or at any other stage of the proceedings.” Def. Mot. at 5. In support of this request, Wilson primarily relies on Rule 12.2(c) and caselaw applying that rule. See generally id. at 7-15. Rule 12.2, however, “does not deal with the issue of mental competency to stand trial.” Fed. R. Crim. P. 12.2 advisory committee note. Because Wilson's situation is controlled entirely by 18 U.S.C. § 4241, the specific protections afforded by Rule 12.2 are inapplicable. United States v. Thompson, 462 Fed.Appx. 561, 565 (6th Cir. 2012).

         Nevertheless, the Fifth Amendment may still preclude the use of Wilson's mental competency evaluation evidence at trial. See United States v. Nguyen, 962 F.Supp. 1221, 1225 (E.D. Cal. 1997). Thus, the Court agrees with Wilson that, in accordance with his privilege against self-incrimination under the Fifth Amendment, the Government's use of any evidence derived from the mental competency evaluation is limited to determining whether Wilson is competent to stand trial, unless Wilson uses that evidence during either the guilt or penalty phase of the trial. See id.; see also Savino v. Murray, 82 F.3d 593, 604 (4th Cir. 1996) (“[A] defendant has no Fifth Amendment protection against the introduction of mental health evidence in rebuttal to the defense's psychiatric evidence.”). Although Wilson states that he “has not endorsed a mental defense at trial, ” see Def. Reply at 3, Wilson has not expressly stated that he will not use any mental competency evidence outside the context of the competency hearing.

         Moreover, while a criminal defendant has a Sixth Amendment right to the assistance of counsel before submitting to any mental health examination that represents a “critical stage” of that defendant's prosecution, Estelle v. Smith, 451 U.S. 454, 468-470 (1981), in this context, the right “at most requires that defense counsel be informed of the ‘nature and scope' of the evaluation and put ‘on notice' that he would have to anticipate the prosecution's use of the mental exam if he raised a ‘mental status defense.'” Thompson, 462 Fed.Appx. at 564 (quoting Buchanan v. Kentucky, 483 U.S. 402, 424-425 (1987)). Here, both of those preconditions are met, so there could be no Sixth Amendment violation.

         Until Wilson has affirmatively decided whether he will use any mental competency evidence outside the context of the competency hearing, his request for an order limiting the use of such evidence at this juncture is premature and denied without prejudice.

         B. ...


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