United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, New Albany Division
ENTRY FOLLOWING COMPETENCY HEARING
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on the Defendant's motion for
a hearing regarding the competency of Defendant, Lawrence
Dusean Adkinson (“Mr. Adkinson”). On March 20,
2016 Mr. Adkinson filed a Motion for Hearing to Determine
Mental Competency and Order Directing Psychiatric Exam
(Filing No. 158). On April 7, 2016 the Court ordered an
examination pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4241(b) (Filing No. 165).
Forensic Psychologist, Heather H. Ross, Ph.D. performed an
evaluation of Mr. Adkinson from April 27 to June 10, 2016, to
determine Mr. Adkinson's competency to stand trial.
Following her evaluation, Dr. Ross submitted a report to the
Court in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b) and
relevant part of (c). The Court held a hearing on the motion
on September 21, 2106, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 4241(a). Present
at the hearing were Defendant Mr. Adkinson, FBI Special Agent
Ronald Hornback. Jr., counsel for Mr. Adkinson Khalid
Kahloon, counsel for the Government Bradley Shepard, and
court reporter David Moxley.
Adkinson, through counsel, had no objection to the
admissibility of the forensic evaluation report and no
objection to the conclusions in the report.
forensic report, Dr. Ross reported that Mr. Adkinson had
factual knowledge of the charges against him. Throughout the
evaluation period, Mr. Adkinson displayed an ability to
communicate adequately and cooperate, but appeared to feign a
lack of knowledge about general legal terms and feign
cognitive impairment on IQ testing. For example, Dr. Ross
explained that the results of psychological testing were so
low they strongly suggest that Mr. Adkinson intentionally
misrepresented himself as impaired. Dr. Ross's diagnostic
impression was of Malingering, Cannabis Use Disorder, Alcohol
Use Disorder, Psilocybin Disorder, Language Disorder (per
self-report), Adjustment Disorder, with anxiety and depressed
mood. Dr. Ross opined:
Although Mr. Adkinson suffers from substance abuse and
possible mental health diagnosis, his current functioning
abilities are intact in a manner that he may utilize them to
aid in his own defense and understand the facts of his case
rationally. Whether he may choose to do so is difficult to
determine. The information available to the undersigned
evaluator, taken as a whole, is suggestive of current
malingered incompetence. …[I]t is my opinion, despite
his reported difficulties and feigned lack of knowledge, Mr.
Adkinson is competent to the extent he is able to understand
the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him
and assist properly in his defense.
hearing, Mr. Adkinson demonstrated a minimal understanding of
the roles of typical court participants and with instruction
from the court, was able to articulate some understanding of
the legal proceedings against him and appeared capable of
assisting counsel in his defense.
Court heard testimony from Special Agent Hornback that the
defendant participated in telephone conversations with his
mother regarding plea agreement negotiations, terms and
conditions of sentencing; as well as conversations with his
father concerning the mental competency evaluation, advising
Mr. Adkinson that he should “pretend to be the slowest
m/f on the planet.” Additionally, Special Agent
Hornback provided testimony concerning proffer statements
which support Mr. Adkinson's appreciation of the charges
against him and comprehension of these proceedings.
upon the foregoing evidence and testimony, in accordance with
18 U.S.C. § 4241(d), the Court finds that Mr. Adkinson
is mentally competent for trial or for pleading guilty. Mr.
Adkinson is not 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. Accordingly, the Court finds by a preponderance of
the evidence that Mr. Adkinson is mentally competent to stand
court notes that a Petition to Enter a Plea of Guilty and
Plea Agreement was signed by Mr. Adkinson and filed on
September 7, 2016. (Filing No. 208), prior to this
Court's determination of competency. Because Mr. Adkinson
testified that he did not know what a jury trial was, and
appeared to be uncertain of the role of the judge and
prosecutor, and demonstrated disorganized thought processes
(i.e. he believed it was winter), the Court instructed
defendants' counsel to again review and explain the
waiver of rights, terms and conditions of the plea agreement.
The Court must, in accepting a Fed. R. Crim. P. 11 plea, be
satisfied that the defendant has sufficient mental competency
to waive certain constitutional rights, to make a reasoned
choice among the alternatives presented to him, and to
understand the nature and consequences of the guilty plea. If
counsel is satisfied that Mr. Adkinson is able to make a
knowing and voluntary waiver of certain constitutional rights
in entering a guilty plea, the parties may then re-execute
and re-file the plea agreement. The re-filed plea agreement
should be docketed within 30 days.
now, the change of plea and sentencing hearing on March 2,
2017 at 3:30 p.m. ...