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United States v. Marshall

decided: March 23, 1972.


Hays and Oakes, Circuit Judges, and Clarie, District Judge.*fn*

Author: Clarie

CLARIE, District Judge:

All three appellants were convicted of bank robbery, 18 U.S.C. § 2113(d), after a jury trial before Chief Judge Mishler, and each was sentenced on July 9, 1971 to twenty-five years imprisonment. Appellant Guglielmo seeks a reversal of his conviction on the ground that his obstreperous and bizarre behavior during trial imposed a constitutional duty upon the trial judge to initiate further inquiry into his competency to stand trial. Appellants Marshall and Solina claim that their convictions should be overturned, because the trial court refused to grant their repeated motions for a severance from Guglielmo and for a mistrial, because of the highly prejudicial trial behavior of Guglielmo. We conclude that the trial court did not abuse its discretion, and affirm the judgments of conviction.

The appellants were arrested while fleeing from their overturned car after a high-speed police pursuit. When appellant Marshall refused to halt at the order of one of the police officers, he was shot in the arm. Substantial evidence was adduced at trial against all of the appellants.*fn1

The facts material to this appeal are not in dispute. In December 1970, some four months prior to trial, Guglielmo's counsel moved pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4244*fn2 for an order directing a judicial determination as to whether Guglielmo was competent to stand trial. The motion was granted and Guglielmo was committed to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners at Springfield, Missouri, for psychiatric examination. The report of the Medical Center indicated that,

"It was the unanimous opinion of the Psychiatric Staff that Mr. Guglielmo has the capacity to understand the nature of the charges against him and can cooperate with counsel in the presentation of his defense if he so desires; however, there is a good possibility that should Mr. Guglielmo return back to court that he will attempt to engage in bizarre behavior or act out his need to appear psychotic, and to a Psychiatrist unaware of his past history, it is a possibility that conclusions might be drawn that this man is actively psychotic which has not been substantiated by psychological testing at this institution . . . ."

Neither the defendant nor the Government requested a hearing to determine Guglielmo's competency.

At the suppression hearing conducted April 1, 1971, appellant Guglielmo accused the Government of "lying," and sought to dismiss his assigned counsel because he suspected that the lawyer was a government "agent." Later in the day, the trial judge concluded that although the report from the Medical Center was "positive" in its opinion as to Guglielmo's competency, "after viewing this defendant I am not sure at this point that he is competent." The trial court granted Guglielmo's motion to appoint a private psychiatrist to examine Guglielmo, and ordered that the doctor be given the complete Medical Center report and informed of Guglielmo's courtroom behavior.

The examining physician, Dr. Smith, reported:

"In short, Mr. Guglielmo showed extremely uneven performance, not characteristic of any psychiatric syndrome, but indicative to me of his malingering mental illness.

"In my opinion, Mr. Guglielmo is competent to stand trial in that he shows good understanding of his legal situation (including the charges against him) and the capacity to cooperate with his attorney in his defense.

"However, I anticipate that Mr. Guglielmo is likely to continue to display disruptive behavior in a conscious effort to confound legal process."

At the commencement of the trial, the judge ruled that Guglielmo was competent on the basis of the doctors' reports, and concluded that there was no need for a hearing on the question. Neither the defendant nor the Government requested any hearing.

Guglielmo created several disruptions during the eight-day trial.*fn3 There were several outbursts when he directed obscenities and accusations toward the Court, witnesses, and the prosecutor. On one occasion, the Court ordered Guglielmo removed from the courtroom and there was one instance when he chose to absent himself. At one point, he requested that the Court just sentence him and spare him the unfair trial he was receiving. On another occasion, Guglielmo hurled a water pitcher at the prosecutor and later threw a chair toward the jury rail. Finally, during summation by Solina's counsel, Guglielmo cut his wrists with a razor blade and also cut his tongue, purportedly ...

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