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United States v. Ciccocioppo

United States District Court, D. Colorado

January 17, 2017

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Plaintiff,
v.
JESSICA L. CICCOCIOPPO, Defendant.

          DAVID E. JOHNSON Attorney for Defendant

          DEFENDANT'S SECTION 4241(a) MOTION FOR ORDER AUTHORIZING PSYCHIATRIC OR PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION PURSUANT TO SECTION 4241(b) FOR THE PURPOSE OF DETERMINING COMPETENCY

         Defendant, Jessica L. Ciccocioppo, by and through undersigned counsel, hereby moves this Court for an Order authorizing a psychiatric or psychological examination of the defendant by a licensed or certified psychiatrist or psychologist for the purpose of determining the mental competency of the defendant, and to thereafter set a hearing to determine her competency to proceed, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a), (b) and (c), and 18 U.S.C. §4247(b) and (c). In support thereof, the defense states as follows:

         I. Procedural History

         1. Ms. Ciccocioppo is charged with one count of violating 18 U.S.C. § 1038(a)(1), false information and hoaxes. On August 17, 2016, Ms. Ciccocioppo entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. Ms. Ciccocioppo is detained without bond.

         2. On December 8, 2016, a status conference was held in this case. See Doc. No. 32. Ms. Ciccocioppo was not present for that conference, as she declined to come to court. At that conference, this Court inquired about Ms. Ciccocioppo's competency to proceed. See 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Counsel explained to the Court that, at that time, he did not wish to raise the issue of whether Ms. Ciccocioppo was competent to proceed; he similarly requested the Court not, on its own, order an evaluation to determine competency. Id. Counsel assured the Court he was working diligently on Ms. Ciccocioppo's case.

         3. Subsequent to the December 8 conference, and as discussed at that time, Ms. Ciccocioppo filed a second Ends of Justice continuance motion. See Doc. No. 33.

         In granting that motion, this Court summarized:

The Court has independently become concerned with Defendant's mental health status to the point where serious consideration was given to a competency hearing initiated by the Court. After discussing the matter with counsel at the Status Conference on December 8, 2016 (ECF No. 32), the Court determined that a further ends of justice continuance was best both for counsel's preparation efforts and for completion of those analyses which will assist the Court in determining whether competency issues remain.

Doc. No. 34.

         4. Trial in this case is currently set for March 20, 2017. Id.

         II. Argument

         5. At this time, counsel believes he has an ethical responsibility to bring the instant motion pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Based upon Ms. Ciccocioppo's documented history with mental health concerns, ongoing interactions and conversations with Ms. Ciccocioppo, and information learned during the course of representing Ms. Ciccocioppo, counsel has reason to believe that Ms. Ciccocioppo may be suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering her mentally incompetent to the extent that she is unable to assist properly in her defense. See 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). The defense requests the Court to order an examination of Ms. Ciccocioppo by a licensed or certified psychiatrist or psychologist for purposes of determining competency. 18 U.S.C. § 4241(b).

         6. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. §§ 4241(b), 4247(b), and for the purposes of conducting this examination, counsel requests that the defendant be committed to the custody of the United States Attorney General for a reasonable period not to exceed 30 days, unless an extension, not to exceed 15 days, is appropriately sought. 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b). Per statute, this examination must, unless impracticable, be conducted in a suitable facility closest to the court. Id.

         7. Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(c), counsel further requests the Court to direct the preparation of a written report that complies with Section 4247(c), and once completed, copies of the report be delivered directly to undersigned counsel, the ...


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