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UNITED STATES v. NAGY

June 24, 1998

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, against PAUL NAGY, Defendant.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SWEET

Sweet, D.J.

 Following a full hearing pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 4241, upon the findings of fact and conclusions of law set forth below, it is concluded that Defendant Paul Nagy ("Nagy") is incompetent to stand trial, that the mental disease or defect he is suffering from renders him unable to assist properly in his defense, and that he will be committed to the custody of the Attorney General for a term of four months.

 Prior Proceedings

 The procedural history of this case, set forth below, is more complicated than the usual case.

 According to the Government, on or about July 13 and 14, 1995, an individual identifying himself as Paul Nagy placed telephone calls to the White House in Washington, D.C. The caller stated that he wished to speak to President Clinton regarding problems with his Social Security benefits. During one of these calls, after the caller was not connected to the President, the caller threatened to cut the head off of a White House telephone operator. On August 2, 1995, a Secret Service agent went to Nagy's apartment on 243 East 81st Street in New York, New York, and interviewed him. At that time, Nagy admitted to threatening the White House telephone operator.

 On September 7, 1995, after learning that Nagy had been previously arrested for battery, unlawful use of a weapon, and resisting a peace officer and that he had previously been hospitalized for psychiatric disorders, including paranoid schizophrenia, two Special Agents returned to Nagy's apartment building to interview Nagy's superintendent. The Government asserts that the superintendent informed the Special Agents that he saw what might be a gun on Nagy's person. The Special Agents then attempted a second interview of Nagy. Nagy refused to open his door, and the Special Agents obtained a key from the superintendent as they became concerned for Nagy's safety, the safety of those who might be in the apartment, as well as their own safety. As they opened Nagy's door, a gunshot was fired from within Nagy's apartment into the hallway.

 New York City Police Department personnel arrived at the scene and began negotiating with Nagy for his surrender. According to the Government, Nagy admitted to firing the shot. Nagy was arrested.

 Following Nagy's arrest, pursuant to a search warrant, the following items were found in and seized from Nagy's apartment: a loaded Smith and Wesson 9mm semiautomatic pistol, a loaded Colt .25 caliber pistol, a loaded INTRATEC TEC-9 9mm Luger semiautomatic machine pistol, a bulletproof vest, assorted ammunition, an eight-inch bowie knife, pepper mace, an electronic stun gun, and a camouflage army helmet.

 The Government's complaint, filed on September 8, 1995, charges Nagy with the following counts: unlawfully, wilfully, and knowingly (1) forcibly assaulting, opposing, impeding, intimidating, and interfering with two Special Agents of the United States Secret Service, while they engaged in the performance of their official duties, and in the course thereof using and discharging a deadly and dangerous weapon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 111; (2) using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to the crime of violence alleged in count (1) in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 924(c)(1); (3) possessing a semiautomatic assault weapon in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(v)(1); and (4) (counts four and five charge Nagy with) possessing and receiving two firearms which had the importer's and manufacturer's serial number removed, obliterated, and altered and which had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 922(k).

 Nagy was assigned counsel on September 8, 1995. On September 21, 1995, a detention hearing was held. A docket entry indicates that Nagy consented to detention, and the Government requested a psychiatric evaluation to determine Nagy's competence. On September 28, 1995, upon application of the Government, the Honorable Robert P. Patterson, sitting in Part I, ordered that a psychiatric evaluation of Nagy be conducted. *fn1"

 Stuart B. Kleinman, M.D. ("Kleinman"), examined Nagy and prepared a report, dated April 30, 1996, in which he concluded that Nagy suffers from psychotic disorder, probable schizophrenia, paranoid type, that is chronic. In his report, Kleinman stated that:

 
In his current mental state, Mr. Nagy, to a reasonable degree of psychiatric certainty, is not competent to proceed. Mr. Nagy is currently psychotic, i.e. possesses a grossly distorted perception of reality, and, as a result, is unable to rationally assist, to a reasonable extent, in his defense. His preoccupation with multiple paranoid beliefs significantly interferes with his ability to work with any attorney, paid or otherwise, and to consider rationally defense options or strategies. Mr. Nagy is an intelligent individual who possesses a significant level of knowledge regarding legal proceedings. However, his judgment regarding how to pursue his self interest in these proceedings is grossly diminished by his paranoid concerns. Mr. Nagy's quest to obtain recognition and restitution for (likely) imagined slights has precedence over his pursuing reasonable defense strategies. He perceives a trial as a stage upon which he can publicly decry the multiple injuries he believes have been inflicted upon him.
 
Mr. Nagy is unable to rationally assess the likelihood of winning at trial. He believes that the public attention he intends to capture via "the media" will either cause the U.S. Government to repent and compensate him for the injuries he feels he has suffered or lead a jury to find that his actions were a reasonable response to over a decade of (perceived) government persecution. Mr. Nagy's paranoid beliefs also render him unable to rationally consider a plea bargain. He does not desire to be incarcerated and is motivated to minimize any prison sentence. Yet, he is disposed to reject a plea offer unless it includes "compensation" by the government. He also reported that he would be loathe to accept a plea bargain because it would hinder his pursuit of civil damages against the U.S. Government. Mr. Nagy's psychosis based concerns interfere with his accurately assessing his legal options.

 Judge Patterson held a competency hearing on August 1, 1996, at which Kleinman testified.

 During the competency hearing, Judge Patterson stated:

 
Having heard the testimony, I believe that there is adequate evidence to find by a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant is unable to assist properly in his defense or to act properly in defending himself in a jury trial involving criminal charges. Although he understands the general nature of the proceedings, he has perceptions which distort the adequate knowledge of the full nature of what is required in order to properly defend himself.

 Judge Patterson by order dated August 5, 1996, having found Nagy incompetent to stand trial, committed him to the custody of the Attorney General to be hospitalized for treatment at a suitable facility for a period of sixty days. Nagy was then admitted to the Mental Health Division at FCI Butner ("Butner").

 On August 7, 1996, a grand jury indicted Nagy, and the case was assigned to the Honorable Lewis A. Kaplan, 96 Cr. 601 (LAK). Thereafter, Judge Kaplan deferred further proceedings until treatment and evaluation were completed at Butner.

 On February 6, 1997, a report prepared by Butner (the "Butner Report") stated that although Nagy suffers from delusional disorder, his symptoms were under control with the use of medication. Butner thus found Nagy competent to stand trial. The Butner Report stressed, however, that Nagy's "competency is dependent on his continued compliance with his antipsychotic medications." ...


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