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United States v. Sanchez

United States District Court, Tenth Circuit

December 6, 2013

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
#10 Pedro Sanchez, Defendant.

Miller Leonard, CO Reg. # 41029, Golden, CO, Attorney for Defendant.

MOTION TO DETERMINE THE COMPETENCY OF DEFENDANT

Defendant Pedro Sanchez, Defendant #10, by and through counsel, hereby requests the Court enter an Order to determine his mental competency. In support of this motion, defendant states the following:

General Allegations

1. Defendant has plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute 5 kilograms or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, a Schedule II controlled substance, all in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Sections 846 and 841(a)(1), and 841(b)(1)(A)(ii)(II).

2. Defendant is currently scheduled to be sentenced on March 11, 2014.

3. The PSI has been completed in this matter.

Concerns for Defendant's Competency

4. Counsel met with defendant on November 26, 2013. Defendant, who remains in custody, was unable to effectively communicate with counsel. Defendant exhibited lapses in memory as well as being highly emotional. Defendant's statements and conduct did not follow the logical course of communication. Defendant was unable to tell counsel the reason he was being incarcerated and he was unable, in the opinion of counsel, to understand the nature of his charges as well as the upcoming sentencing procedures.

5. Counsel does not speak Spanish. Defendant does not speak English. This language barrier makes it more problematic for counsel to come to a conclusion as to the competency of defendant. At all times, however, counsel has been assisted by certified interpreters. Prior to the November 26, 2013 meeting, while communication has, at times, been difficult, defendant did not exhibit the inability to understand the basic aspects of his case and he was able to logically track the course of a conversation as well as the aspects of his case, including sentencing.

6. Defendant's emotional state during the November 26, 2013 meeting was unusual. Prior to the November 26, 2013 meeting, defendant has been, understandably, upset and emotional. However, his emotions prior to the November 26, 2013 meeting seemed appropriate and he was able to focus back to the legal case pending. During the November 26, 2013 meeting, defendant was unable to sufficiently contain or control his emotions and appeared to be depressed, anxious and distraught. Even after giving defendant an opportunity to collect himself and to focus on the pending legal case, defendant was unable to appropriately answer the questions posed to him by counsel. The answers defendant did give exhibited a misunderstanding of his case, both from a factual and legal standpoint. This misunderstanding is a change from previous meetings with client and even though counsel attempted to correct these misunderstandings, it did not appear that defendant understood and appreciated what was being communicated.

7. At this point, counsel believes that it is both appropriate and necessary to have defendant evaluated by either a psychologist or psychiatrist to determine his competency to proceed.

Legal Basis

8. 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a) provides that "[a]t any time after the commencement of a prosecution for an offense and prior to the sentencing of the defendant, or at any time after the commencement of probation or supervised release and prior to the completion of the sentence, the defendant or the attorney for the Government may file a motion for a hearing to determine the mental competency of the defendant."

9. 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a) further states that "the court shall grant the motion, or shall order such a hearing on its own motion, if there is reasonable cause to believe that the defendant may presently be 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."

10. Based upon the representations of counsel, defendant asserts that there exists "reasonable cause" to believe that defendant is not competent to proceed and, as such, an evaluation of the defendant to determine his mental status is appropriate.

The Position of the Government

11. Defendant has contacted the government in order to ascertain their position as to this request. Defendant was informed that counsel for the government is preparing for a trial and, as a result, the position of the government is not known at this time.

Prayer for Relief

WHEREFORE, defendant prays the Court grant his request.


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