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United States v. Sampson

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

June 30, 2014

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
v.
GARY LEE SAMPSON

For USA, Plaintiff: George W. Vien, LEAD ATTORNEY, Donnelly, Conroy & Gelhaar, LLP, Boston, MA.

Mark T. Quinlivan, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dustin Chao, Zachary R. Hafer, United States Attorney's Office MA, Boston, MA.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Mark L. Wolf, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

I. BACKGROUND

For the reasons explained in detail at the June 4, 2014 hearing,[1] the court found

Page 215

that there is reasonable cause to believe that defendant Gary Sampson " 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." 18 U.S.C. § 4241(a). Accordingly, the court ordered that " [t]he Bureau of Prisons (the 'BOP') shall conduct a psychiatric examination of Sampson in accordance with 18 U.S.C. § 4247(b)." June 6, 2014 Order Concerning Competency Evaluation ¶ 1. The court also ordered that the competency evaluation be performed by a certified psychiatrist (the " Examiner" ). Id.

The June 6, 2014 Order Concerning Competency Evaluation prescribed the procedures that will govern various aspects of the BOP's competency evaluation. Among other things, the government was ordered to provide certain materials of public record to the BOP for use by the Examiner. See id. ¶ 4. The court stated that it " assumes, without finding, that the Examiner will have access to relevant records in the BOP's possession," and ordered Sampson, if he " objects to the Examiner accessing such records," to file a motion addressing this issue. Id. ¶ 5. The court ordered that the Examiner prepare a report pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4247(c) (the " Competency Report" ) and that the Competency Report be filed with the court under seal and provided to the parties. Id. ¶ 2. The parties were instructed to state their positions, after receiving the Competency Report, as to whether Sampson is now competent to stand trial, whether a hearing should be held to address this matter, and what evidence, if any, should be presented at or before such a hearing. Id. ¶ 3.

In another June 6, 2014 Order, the court instructed the parties to confer and to inform the court whether they were in agreement concerning: whether an independent examiner should be appointed to evaluate Sampson at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana; if so, which individual should be appointed as an independent examiner; and whether an independent examination would be funded by the government. See Order Concerning Possible Alternative to Competency Examination by the Bureau of Prisons ¶ 1 (" Order Concerning Possible Alternative" ). The court stated that " [i]f agreement has been reached concerning most or all of [these questions], the parties may jointly move for modification of the Order Concerning Competency Evaluation," identifying certain relevant matters. Id. ¶ 2.

On June 17, 2014, the government filed a redacted version of a letter by which it indicated that it was transmitting the required materials related to Sampson's competency to the Examiner (the " Letter to Examiner" ). The redacted Letter to Examiner did not disclose the Examiner's name or the BOP institution at which he works. On June 19, 2014, the court ordered the government to file an unredacted version of the Letter to Examiner, under seal if necessary, and to serve it on Sampson. The government filed the Letter to Examiner, under seal, in unredacted form. However, citing security concerns, it requested that this filing be made ex parte. In another June 19, 2014 Order, the court stated that it doubted the merit of the government's request to file the Letter to Examiner ex parte, and ordered that the government's submission seeking

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to file the letter ex parte be served on Sampson, in redacted form.

On June 18, 2014, Sampson filed a motion objecting to the Examiner's access to BOP records concerning Sampson (the " Objection to Access" ). Arguing that such records implicate his statutory privacy rights and his rights under the Fifth and Sixth Amendments, Sampson requested an opportunity to review any BOP records to be accessed by the Examiner and, if necessary, to object to the Examiner's access to those records.

On June 23, 2014, the parties reported their positions concerning: the possibility of an independent competency evaluation; the government's request that its unredacted Letter to Examiner remain ex parte; and Sampson's Objection to Access.

The government asserts that an independent examiner should not be appointed. However, the government believes that it would be responsible for the cost of any independent examination. The government contends that the Examiner should have access to all relevant BOP records, including medical and any psychological records created in the course of Sampson's incarceration. The government also states that, in contrast to prior representations, it now intends to obtain Sampson's records from the BOP on July 23, 2013, without first moving for leave to do so. In addition, the government requests that the court modify the schedule previously established, and order that Sampson provide an updated notice under Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 12.2(b)(2) by July 21, 2014.

Sampson contends that an independent examiner should be appointed. He argues, among other things, that recent submissions by the government suggest that the Examiner is not neutral and independent, but rather is affiliated with the government. Sampson adds that the evaluation should take place at the federal penitentiary in Terre Haute, regardless of whether the evaluation is performed by the BOP or by an independent examiner. In addition, Sampson argues that the name of the Examiner and the facility at which the evaluation will be conducted should be disclosed to him.

Sampson contends that once the Examiner's evaluation is complete: (a) the Competency Report should first be provided to Sampson so that he may argue that the report, or parts of it, should not be disclosed to the government; (b) if the Examiner finds Sampson competent to stand trial, the Competency Report should not be provided to the government; (c) if the Competency Report is provided to the government, it should be viewed only by " firewalled" Assistant United States Attorneys; and (d) any ...


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